The ninth edition of the Urban Lens Film Festival by the Indian Institute of Human Settlements (IIHS) is back with physical screenings after two years of the virtual festival. The festival is hosted in collaboration with the Goethe-Institute / Max Mueller Bhavan and India Foundation for the Arts. Champaca will be the bookstore partner.
According to the programming note, this year the festival will explore questions around cities: what constitutes them, who belongs to them, how they can be associated with freedom and opportunity as well as exploitation, and their connection with cinema and cultural landscape.
IIHS is "a national education institution and a prospective national university, committed to the equitable, sustainable, and efficient transformation of an urban Indian settlement."
The opening film will be Ariyippu (Declaration) which will focus on the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on a couple’s life in Delhi. Oscar-nominated All That Breathes, which follows two brothers who rescue injured black kites and shows a captivating journey of "inter-species co-existence,", will be the closing film.
Other films to be screened at the festival include Aise Hee, Ladies Only, Made in Bangladesh, and Raat set in the cities of Allahabad, Mumbai, Dhaka and the peri-urban contexts of Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, and Rajasthan, that "explore themes of loneliness, labour, and inhabiting public spaces as seen through the eyes of women."
Some of the international films that will be screened are award-winning ones, such as White Building (Cambodia), Kabul, City in the Wind (Afghanistan), El Gran Movimiento (Bolivia), Victoria (Germany) and Made In Bangladesh.
There will also be a panel discussion titled ‘Ear to the Ground: Collective Image-making, Embedded Stories’ which will focus on image-making in the collectives and local contexts. The panellists include Fareeda AM and Madhu Dhruve of Ektara collective and Nakul Singh Sawhney, an Indian documentary filmmaker.
There will also be a video installation by Nabina Chakraborty titled Nuovo Metropolis which is "an interplay between Fritz Lang’s classic Metropolis and narratives of residents of Kidwai Nagar basti in Delhi" and a photography exhibition by Rama Aadhithan, Sudhanva Atri and Jagdish Krishnaswamy called Crossing Thresholds, that focuses on “the relationship between nature and the built environment in different cities.”
Urban Lens Festival will be held from 16 to 19 February at IIHS Bengaluru City Campus.