Thiruvananthapuram: Dozens of cinema connoisseurs sat in thrall of Bicycle Thieves, as the first-ever Malayalam-subtitled edition of Vittorio de Sica’s masterpiece was publicly screened by the Kerala State Chalachitra Academy (KSCA) in partnership with the Manaveeyam Theruvorakootam collective on Sunday evening.
The 1948-made neo-realist classic is the first of several auteur works by iconic filmmakers that the KSCA will screen for the public ahead of the 20th edition of the International Film Festival of Kerala (IFFK).
Amid intermittent rain, KSCA chairman T Rajivnath inaugurated the first viewing in the presence of IFFK artistic director and filmmaker Shaji N Karun and author M F Thomas, among other luminaries.
Thanking the audience, Rajivnath said the powerful message in a movie like Bicycle Thieves has stood the test of time and deserved to be taken to ever-growing audiences. “It is for this reason that Malayalam subtitles have been provided for the benefit of our domestic audience,” he added.
As part of the KSCA’s initiative to boost public participation in the IFFK, Rajivnath said a selection of 10 films—from such masters as Bergman, Herzog, Fellini, Kurosawa, among others—will be uploaded on the IFFK’s official Facebook page on Monday. “The public can then vote for the film they would like to see the following Sunday,” he informed.
Karun, in his address, noted the importance of bringing classics of world cinema to a new generation of filmgoer and filmmaker. A point expounded by Thomas, who noted that “had Satyajit Ray not had the benefit of Bicycle Thieves, as he wrote in his memoirs, he could not have made the work of genius that is Pather Panchali (1955)”.
The public screenings, which runs over a two-month period, will culminate with the launch of Kerala’s premier film festival on December 4. Film buffs, thus, have eight more such Sunday evenings to reflect on the works of the world’s finest filmmakers.
IFFK 2015 will run until December 11.