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Filmmaker Interview - Aneek Chaudhuri at Cannes

Filmmaker Interview by Chris Olson

A mover and shaker in the world of film, I have been lucky to catch up with filmmaker Aneek Chaudhuri for a second time this year. During our previous interview we discussed The Wife's Letter, Chaudhuri's feature film. This time, though, we speak to the man shortly after his visit to Cannes Film Festival. As well as his upcoming movie White.

How was Cannes Film Festival for you?

Cannes is special! In a word. I may also prefer to call it an extravagant experience when I was exposed to the most polished country of Cinema, where Cinema is practised more as an artform than anything else. Film markets to festive carnivals, every bit of Cannes enthused me with an aggravated ambition and it is going to help me in the future for sure. But, to mind this fact, Cannes is more than a red-carpet show; it is a networking place for professionals, and as soon as my job is complete, I prefer to return back to my nation.

Overall, I had a few meetings with distributors and buyers, and things have gone fine. However, it is not that easy to adjust in such expensive environments; it is hectic too.

Tell me about the night of the 17th. How did your screening go?

A good one! Attended by people who understand Cinema, I got some good feedback too. It will only help me as a filmmaker in the long run. I was not nervous though and I was ready for criticisms (which did not come as a matter of fact).

Would you recommend Cannes for filmmakers at a particular stage in their craft? Or would all levels find it useful?

One should be prepared before going to Cannes, as a person is suggested to choose Cannes once you think you are completely ready otherwise; the press is always eager to boo a film off. It can be discouraging for any budding director. Even Michael Haneke got booed here this year!

Your next film is going to be White. Can you tell us a bit about that?

In today’s world, ‘hope’ is the element that is getting diminished day-by-day; hence, the film ‘White’ details on three stories that comment on hope and how a person goes along even after getting mentally and physically taunted in each part of his/her life.

White is a feature length film and forms as a result of three short films of the same theme and coherence is highly maintained among these films.

White brings along the subject of rape in contemporary society where the "rape child" is brought up and after the child grows up, he goes through the phase of existential crisis (shown in the third short film).

To be concise and very much correct (as per my viewpoint) being raped is not the fault of the victim; however, they are actually dealt with huge mental torment in society. Now, in my film the story is about acceptance and then fighting against the natural course of life. White explains how a woman is strong enough to bear the victim child in her womb and giving the child a world to live in. Therefore, I must also strongly point out that my film also comments on the fact that it is too, not the fault of the victim child as well; though a forceful intercourse with the victim results in a rape child, but aborting it can be equated to the murder of an innocent being. In short, this film echoes the greatness of three women depicted through three short film. Bringing in a coherence, the films combine to form a feature length display of courage, serenity, power and femininity.

When you attend screenings of your own films, do you hope that the audience reacts a certain way?

I do not think that a festival always cares about the auteur; each film has its own derivatives. It depends on the quality of the film how the audience reacts to it. As per me, the same has occurred each time and people are more interested in watching the film than applauding the director walking on a red-carpet.

Do you take the lessons from past reactions into your present filmmaking?

It depends whom the reaction is coming from! Yes, if I find taking them forward will help me, I definitely try to incorporate them into my mindset. However, not unconditionally!

How would you change the film industry from an audience's perspective?

I do not want to change it, but want to put an agenda before the common audiences i.e. through exposing them to World Cinema. I firmly believe that there will be a day when people will start admiring silent cinema once again if one truly admires the concept of world cinema. There will be no language barriers in Cinema. However, the conflict between art and commerce will prevail.

I know I have asked this question before, but, would you say anything different if you were a dolphin now?

We are getting extinct in our country! I do not want fall into endangered or extinct category!


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