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Japan: Two Indian films selected for the 34th Tokyo International Film Festival beginning Saturday

The Tokyo festival, which is held from October 30 to November 8, continues to be a hybrid festival in the physical and digital formats this year as the previous edition due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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New Delhi: Malayalam filmmaker Lijo Jose Pellissery’s new film ‘Churuli’ and debutant director Ritesh Sharma’s Varanasi-set ‘Jhini Bini Chadariya’ will represent Indian cinema at the 34th Tokyo International Film Festival beginning Saturday in the Japanese capital, it was reported on Friday.

‘Charlie, which follows Pellissery’s highly-acclaimed previous film ‘Jallikattu’, is part of the Tokyo festival’s prestigious gala section that has entries like Italian director Paolo Sorrentino’s ‘The Hand of God’, New Zealand director Jane Campion’s ‘The Power of the Dog’ and Filipino director Brillante Mendoza’s ‘Gensan Punch’ this year.

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The Tokyo festival, which is held from October 30 to November 8, continues to be a hybrid festival in the physical and digital formats this year as the previous edition due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Pellissery, who won the Best Director award for ‘Jallikattu’ at the International Film Festival of India, Panaji, in 2019, tells the story of two undercover police officers chasing a fugitive finding themselves trapped in the treacherous mountain terrain of a village called Churuli in his latest work. ‘Jallikattu’ was India’s entry for the Best International Feature Film prize at the Oscar awards last year.

Varanasi-based Sharma’s first feature film, ‘Jhini Bini Chadariya’ (The Brittle Thread), explores the ancient city’s secular traditions in the love story of two Varanasi residents, a handloom weaver and a street dancer. Inspired by a famous song of poet-saint Kabir Das of the same title, ‘Jhini Bini Chadariya’ is among ten films participating in the Asian Futures section of the Tokyo festival.

Both ‘Churuli’ and ‘Jhini Bini Chadariya’ will have their world premieres at the Tokyo festival.

“In Varanasi today, the people don’t talk about their weavers and dancers anymore,” says Sharma, known for his documentary movies, ‘The Holy Wives’ (2010) about human trafficking, and ‘Rainbows are Real’ (2014) on the lives of the transgender community in Kolkata. “While the handloom weavers are threatened by modernisation, the street dancers face exploitation and humiliation from the society every day,” he adds.

‘Jhini Bini Chadariya’ is scheduled for a world premiere on November 1 while ‘Churuli’ will premiere on November 4.

American actor-director Clint Eastwood’s ‘Cry Macho’ will open the festival tomorrow. Two films from Sri Lanka — Sanjeewa Pushpakumara’s ‘Asu’ and Asoka Handagama’s ‘The Dawning of the Day — will also have their world premiere at the Tokyo festival this year. Part of the competition section, ‘The Dawning of the Day’ will vie for the festival’s top prize, the Tokyo Grand Prix.

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