Joint Asian Film Festival / Films

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Still photograph of The Love-Stricken

1. The Love-Stricken
(Director: Ali Hatami/Iran/1992/Color/88 min)
The film is set in the beginning of the 20th century, during the Ghajar dynasty. The Shah, Ahmad, who loves music, assembles excellent musicians to record traditional Persian music for posterity, but...The scenes filled with color and the melody of traditional music makes this film unique.

Still photograph of With Fire as Witness

2. With Fire as Witness
(Director: Shyamprasad/India/1998/Color/110 min)
Thangam, who suffers from discrimination, and Devaki, who comes from a good family but is tied down by tradition, share a strong friendship, but eventually go their separate ways. This film expresses the dilemma of love and struggle between men who try to abide by tradition and women who long for freedom.

Still photograph of The Last Dance

3. The Last Dance
(Director: Shaji N. Karun/India/1999/Color/119 min)
"Kathakali" is a classical dance of South India. This film tells a tale of an endless quest for self of a man regarded as a master of this dance. The rich colors of the Kathakali costumes and the delicate dance gestures are captured.

Still photograph of The Raw Mango

4. The Raw Mango
(Director: Amol Palekar/India/1999/Color/96 min)
The main character is a little girl who is brought to her aunt because her parents have died. The aunt is suffering from her husband's infidelity. This film carefully portrays through various episodes how these two who possess great sensibility find beauty and hope in reality and grow by confronting difficulties.

Still photograph of The Line of Destiny

5. The Line of Destiny
(Director: Lester James Peries/Sri Lanka/1956/B&W/90 min)
Sena is a village boy who is told that he possesses healing powers. But because he is unable to save the life of the landowner's son, the villagers begin to doubt Sena's abilities. This film is a masterpiece that captures through refined technique the fresh expressions of the characters and overflowing natural light.

Still photograph of Saroja

6. Saroja
(Director: Somaratne Dissanayake/Sri Lanka /1999/ Color/125 min)
Injured in battle, Sundaram, a Tamil, seeks refuge in a Sinhalese village with his daughter Sajoja. The little girl Varuni and her parents take them in, but the villagers become suspicious about their identities. This is a talked-about film that handles ethnic conflicts with sincerity.

Still photograph of How I Long for October

7. How I Long for October
(Director: Dang Nhat Minh/Vietnam/1984/B&W/86 min)
Duyen is unable to tell her elderly father-in-law that her husband has been killed in war. She asks Khang, a schoolteacher, to write a letter in her late husband's name for her father-in-law. Khang gradually becomes attracted to Duyen. This is a little gem of a film filled with serenity.

Still photograph of  Sandy Lives

8. Sandy Lives
(Director: Nguyen Thanh Van/Vietnam/1999/Color/90 min)
Cahn returns, for the first time in 20 years, to a village in the south where his wife Thoa has been waiting for him. But Cahn now has another wife, Tam, and a daughter, Gianh, living in the north. One day, Tam and Gianh arrive on the doorstep. This film depicts the tragedy of men and women stemming from Vietnam's unification after its long division.

Still photograph of Madonna and Child

9. Madonna and Child
(Director: Marilou Diaz-Abaya /Philippines /1996/ Color/121 min)
After giving her baby up for adoption to the church, the unmarried Louella travels to Hong Kong to work as a maid. Upon her return to her native Philippines seven years later, she learns that her child has gone missing. She begins searching for him with her former lover Nestor. This is Marilou Diaz-Abaya's moving drama of mother and child.

Still photograph of Ferocious Saint Lord of Gobi

10. Ferocious Saint Lord of Gobi
(Director: I. Nyamgavaa/Mongolia/1998/Color/106 min)
Recognized as a "living Buddha" at the age of five, Ravjaa Khutagt enters the priesthood, and as an adult involves himself in various artistic and enlightening activities as the 5th Lord of Gobi. But opposing forces conspire to assassinate him. Set in the plains of Gobi, this film portrays the life of a man who was revered as a god within a community.

Still photograph of The Teacher of Cyrill Alphabet

11. The Teacher of Cyrill Alphabet
(Director: B. Badaruugan/Mongolia/1998/Color/109 min)
A boy, Battulga, returns to his parents' village from his town school for the summer vacation. The village mayor orders him to teach the Cyrill alphabet to the villagers. His students are a mixed group of men and women, old and young, and Battulga's efforts as a teacher begin.

Profile of Guests

Photo of Shyamprasad

  Shyamprasad (Director of "With Fire as Witness")
  Born in 1960, Shyamprasad received his Master's degree in Media Studies at the Hull University, England. He then studied film at the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) in Poona. He spent more than 10 years as a program officer making documentaries, telefilms, talk shows, and music programs, many of which were given national or provincial awards. His telefilm "Nilavu Ariyunnu" received the special jury prize at the Golden Chest TV Fest held in Bulgaria in 1996. "With Fire as Witness" ('98) is his first full-length feature film.

Photo of I. Nyamgavaa

  I. Nyamgavaa (Director of "Ferocious Saint Lord of Gobi")
  Born in 1950, I. Nyamgavaa graduated from the Moscow Theater and Arts Institute in 1974. His accomplishments as a film director include "Five Fingers of Hand" ('82), "I Love You" ('83), "After Telling Story" ('87), "Running Antelope" ('93), and "Conquerors" ('94). He has been highly regarded by such international film festivals as Moscow, Nantes, and Rotterdam. In addition to "Ferocious Saint Lord of Gobi", Nyamgavaa completed "Land and Soil" in 1998, a film with a historical theme. Apart from his film activities, Nyamgavaa has put on over 50 stage performances.

Photo of L. Sharavdorj

  L. Sharavdorj (Cinematography, "The Teacher of Cyrill Alphabet")
  Born in 1944, L. Sharavdorj graduated from the Moscow University in 1968. He has been responsible for cinematography in many films, and participated in works including "The Teacher of Cyrill Alphabet" and others already introduced in Japan such as "First Step" ('69), "Mandoukhai Tsetsen Khatan" ('88), "A Saint in a Turbulent Age" ('92). In "A Saint in a Turbulent Age", he also co-directed with director Ts. Tserendorji. His directorial work, "I am a Mongolian Child" ('92) won the Earth Vision Special Prize at the 1st Earth Vision Tokyo Global Environmental Film Festival in 1992.

Part Two
Asia Center Project "Guru Dutt Retrospective"

Photo of Guru Dutt

  Profile of Guru Dutt
  Born on July 9, 1925 in Bangalore, Guru Dutt was educated in Calcutta, and later studied in Uday Shankar's dance academy for two years. He then went to the Prabhat Studio in Pune and entered the film world in 1946 as a choreographer. After working as an actor and assistant director, he made his directorial debut with "Baazi" (The Bet) in 1951. He created many classic films as an actor/director/producer since. In 1953 he married the then popular playback singer Geeta Roy. He committed suicide in 1964.


Still photograph of Mr. & Mrs. '55

1. Mr. & Mrs. '55
(Producer, Director & Starring: Guru Dutt /1955/ B&W /152 min)
Anita will be eligible to receive her father's huge inheritance if she marries within a month. Her aunt schemes to marry her temporarily to Preetam, an unpopular cartoonist, only to get them divorced soon afterwards. But gradually, the couple grows fond of each other. This fine film taken in the middle period of Dutt's career shows his talent as a writer of comedy. He is undoubtedly India's George Cukor!

Still photograph of Pyaasa

2. Pyaasa
(Producer, Director & Starring: Guru Dutt /1957/ B&W /145 min. )
Vijay is an unsuccessful poet whose work is only respected by a young prostitute, Gulab. He begins to work at a publishing company only to find out that the wife of Ghosh, the company president, is Meena, a former girlfriend. When Vijay realizes that Meena has exchanged love for money, he is thrown into despair. One day, Vijay is mistakenly believed to be dead in a train accident, and his "posthumous" manuscript becomes a bestseller, but...Screened at the India Film Festival 1988, this film was highly praised by Mr. Shigehiko Hasumi, who commented that "we should be ashamed of our ignorance regarding film history."

Still photograph of Kaagaz Ke Phool

3. Kaagaz Ke Phool
(Producer, Director & Starring: Guru Dutt /1959/ B&W /148 min. )
Suresh, a famous film director, happens to meet Shanti, who is ideally suited to star in his film. The film becomes a great hit and the two become strongly attracted to each other, but eventually Shanti leaves Suresh, who has a wife and daughter. Upon losing Shanti, Suresh drowns himself in alcohol and his career as a filmmaker rapidly declines... Regarded as India's equivalent of "Sunset Boulevard", this film is Dutt's first Cinema Scope work.

Still photograph of Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam

4. Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam
(Producer & starring: Guru Dutt /Director: Abrar Alvi /1962/ B&W /173 min)
This film is set in a mansion in Calcutta under British rule towards the end of the 19th century. The elder brother exploits the poor, the younger brother stays out every night with women, and the wife of the younger brother drown in alcohol because she cannot bear the loneliness. This film portrays from the servant's point of view the decadent life of the upper class unable to keep up with the signs of modernization. The director is A. Alvi, who has written the screenplay of many of Dutt's films.

Still photograph of In Search of Guru Dutt

5. In Search of Guru Dutt
(Director:Nasreen Munni Kabir /1989/ Color/ Documentary /Video /84 min)
This documentary is a three-part tribute to one of India's finest directors, Guru Dutt, who killed himself in 1964 at the age of 39. The work traces Guru Dutt's personal story through many interviews with his family members and colleagues and observes his work through the use of extensive film excerpts. Produced by Channel 4 Television, UK.

Profile of Guest

Photo of Nasreen Munni Kabir

  Nasreen Munni Kabir (Director, "In Search of Guru Dutt")

  A television producer/director, Nasreen Munni Kabir produced and directed the "Movie Mahal" series ("In Search of Guru Dutt" was a part of this series), a documentary focusing on Indian film, in 1987 and 1989 on Channel 4 Television, UK. Also known as a scholar of Indian film, she coordinated the great retrospective of over 100 Indian films held in 1983 at the Pompidou Center, Paris. She is the author of "Guru Dutt: A Life in Cinema" ('96) and other works.

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