Satyajit Ray: The Feel of Festivals (IFFI - 1975)

April 14, 2018

This article dates back to 3 January, 1975.was published in 'Festival News' column in 5th International Film Festival of India, written by Shri Satyajit Ray. The article is a part of Indian Film Institute's Archives.



 -Satyajit Ray 


My first film Pather Panchali, found its way to the Cannes Film Festival through the efforts of some sympathetic friends. I had no means of going, so I stayed back and held my breath. As I learnt later, the official screening of the film took place around midnight. The jury had already on the same day, sat through four long features and decided to skip the Indian entry. Among the handful who attended were some critics, apparently with insatiable appetites, who sat through the film and liked it enough to insist on a second screening for the jurors. This was arranged, and the film went on win a special prize as the “best human document.”


The next year, my second film, Aparajito went tot the Venice festival and won the Golden Lion. This time I was present and experienced the rising tension that marks the occasion for a competing director.


Between Venice in 1957 and now, I have participated in more than a dozen film festivals, either as a juror, or with a film in competition. The two experiences have nothing in common. As a juror one submits to the onslaught of films-8 to 10 hours of screening a day on an average-as well as to the endless round of parties. Some festivals have more of these than others. At any rate, there is little time left for the jury, or anything except these two obligatory occupations. At parties the jurors talk of everything except films, lest the conversation should veer inadvertently toward “what one has seen so far”. All festivals insist on secrecy, with the jurors told unequivocally to wear masks of inscutability. The is because the awards are meant to come as a surprise to the public. They never do. For instance, in Venice one evening, two days before the prizes were announced, I was sitting in pavement café when a stout, middleaged man, presumably a journalist, sidled up to me, bent down to whisper dramatically into my ears; “I can hear the lion’s roar!”, and melted away into the gathering darkness.


Having served on the jury a number of times I find that I look forward less to the films than to notion of being part of a group of people all connected with the cinema in various ways converging from all parts of the world and engaging in a common pursuit.


With a film in competition one is less trammelled. Those who, like me, do not suffer from nerves too much, can use their time most profitably. It is true that most festivals have lost or have been forced to shed, some of their glamour. The opening star parade is a thing of the past. But there is no doubt that with the introducing of parallel festivals with their stress on off beat, meaningful cinema, along with the inevitable tributes and revivals of classics, the choice of films in wider than before.


Apart from the films there is delightful occupation of talking shop with fellow filmmakers. No matter how widely separated they may be geographically, some mysterious force seems to effect an instant communion between filmmakers, so that even before they know each other’s names, they may be engrossed in a discussion of latest Arriflex, or the vagaries of some new zoom lens, or the hazards of shooting location with a small crew.


Each of the four or five major film festivals in Europe where they will not only sit through almost anything without a murmur, but applaud heartily at the end. In Berlin while the rest of the audience observes decorum, a small group at the back will keep hurling invectives at whatever unfolds on the screen. In Venice, if a film is not liked, the audience will pulverize the filmmaker with their boos and catcalls.


Full Image of Satyajit Ray's Article from IFI Archives.




Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Please reload

Like our page on facebook to stay updated

  • Facebook Social Icon
  • Twitter Social Icon

Related Posts

Please reload

October 18, 2018

The story by Akshat Ghildiyal, set in middle class Delhi’s Central Government quarters remains centre-stage while Priyamvada’s doting husband (Gajraj Rao); a cantankerous mother-in-law (Surekha Sikri); an incredulous son Nakul (Ayushmann Khuranna) and a younger son stu...

September 29, 2018

Yashraj Films gets 50 per cent marks – for trying. Actually, that’s unfair. The same marks should be divided between performances, concept and hard work. I am keeping back the balance 50 per cent and you will soon know why! Weaving dreams is great, being ambitious is f...

September 22, 2018

Saadat Hasan Manto was a writer far ahead of his times – at least 75 years ahead. But this measure is rather literal and I am saying this because the last seven decades are available to me in retrospection. For those who will remain sensitive to their times and the all...

September 8, 2018

The well-known actor Victor Banerjee’s latest outing ‘The Answer’ gives plenty of food for thought – especially since he essays the role of Paramhansa Yogananda - one of the world’s most well-known spiritual gurus of this century.

August 31, 2018

Here is a genuinely funny film. The wise cracks are novel, treatment different and the genre ‘horror comedy’ (as its maker likes to define it) definitely a new one. The humour is not forced and just about everything works for Amar Kaushik’s labour of love, Stree.

August 3, 2018

For a film which had the potential and possibly the vision of examining the very sensitive issue of ‘us’ and ‘them’ (read Hindus and Muslims) in a balanced manner, Anubhav Sinha’s Mulk tries but feebly. It does, however, make a very powerful case for those who want to...

July 28, 2018

Dhulia, Gill and Sheirgill are back. ‘Thanks Gods’? Well, depends on how much you love the franchise. Sheirgill as Saheb a.k.a Vijay Pratap Singh charms once again and Gill (read Mahie) as Biwi/Madhavi thickens the plot by plotting again. She is wiser, smarter and Oh-s...

July 20, 2018

Set in Udaipur, Dhadak tries to capture the local flavors in its use of the local dialect, Mewari. But it doesn’t capture caste divisions in society or mention honour as a byword. And because the undercurrents are missing, Dhadak ends up being a story about boy meeting...

July 15, 2018

Let’s talk about the problematic part first. One of the places where Shaad Ali fails to deliver in Soorma is when Sandeep Singh - portrayed exceptionally by Diljit Dosanjh - is in coma post a bullet that hit his spinal cord and grazed other vital organs.

June 29, 2018

When you walk into watch Sanju and watch it you should – you will see only Sanjay Dutt. That is right. Please don’t look for Ranbir Kapoor because he is not there. It is Sanjay Dutt all the way – and you will have to pinch yourself more than once to remember that it is...

Please reload

  • Grey Facebook Icon
  • Grey Twitter Icon
  • Grey Instagram Icon

© 2018 by Indian Film Institute