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Abu Dhabi Film Festival Honours Silver Screen Classics And Celebrates 100 Years Of Indian Cinema

Two Special Programmes will celebrate world cinema during the seventh edition of the Abu Dhabi Film Festival this year. Festival attendees will have the rare opportunity to enjoy restored classics in full silver screen glory and honour Indian cinema, which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. The Festival will open on October 24 and end on November 2. 

Ali Al Jabri, director of the Abu Dhabi Film Festival, said: “Both Special Programmes offer audiences the opportunity to re-discover great and timeless films. The restored cinematic classics that the Festival will feature this year, will contribute to the appreciation of the historic art of cinema. I am proud that the Festival will feature these remarkable and beautifully restored films in the best possible quality – sometimes even better than they were in their own time. Our selection of Indian films will mark the outstanding achievements of one of the most important centres of filmmaking in the world.”

“CELEBRATING INDIAN CINEMA”is a select programme of some of most admired films produced in 100 years of Indian cinema, honouring of its treasured filmmakers. Each of the five films represents a milestone in more ways than one.

Referred to by some as “India’s Orson Welles”, Guru Dutt is regarded as one of the greatest directors of all time, while at the time of his death he was mourned first as a matinee idol. TIME’s All Time 100 Best Movies (2005) lists two of Guru Dutt’s films. ADFF will screen one of them, Eternal Thirst (Pyaasa), the story of a poet struggling to be recognised in post-independence India.

Ritwak Ghatak’s 1965 neorealist film The Golden Thread (Subarnarekha) will also screen as part of the programme. Although Ghatak was not widely recognised at the time of his death, Ghatak’s work has been celebrated posthumously and his impact on other filmmakers, such as Mani Kaul, has been widely recognised. The Golden Thread was voted #11 in a poll of film critics in Cinemaya magazine. In Two Minds (Duvidha), which was directed by Ghatak’s student Mani Kaul in 1973, will also be screened.

The programme also includes Scorching Winds (Garm Hawa) the 1974 Academy Award nominee directed by M S Sathyu. The film, about the plight of a Muslim family in post-partition India, is credited for being a pioneer of a new wave of Hindi Art cinema.

Cinema history is revisited in “PIECES OF TIME: CLASSIC ODYSSEYS. THE ART OF PRESERVING AND RESTORING CINEMA”, a Special Programme of restored classics that offers viewers the chance to discover or re-discover some of the greatest films in the history of cinema.

ADFF audiences will be able to see Alfred Hitchcock’s Dial M For Murder (USA, 1953) exactly the way the master of suspense intended when the Festival screens the film in 3D. Alfred Hitchcock originally shot the film in 3D only for the format to fall out of favour just before its first release in 1954. Fans of Westerns will relish the opportunity to see the digital restoration of Sergio Leone’s original uncut version of Once Upon A Time In The West (Italy 1968) on the big screen, with Ennio Morricone’s celebrated soundtrack showcased in digital surround sound.

Romantics will enjoy Jacques Demy’s 1964 musical The Umbrellas Of Cherbourg (France), starring Catherine Deneuve, andBlake Edwards’ Breakfast At Tiffany’s (USA 1961), starring Audrey Hepburn in her iconic role as Holly Golightly. Both films have undergone extensive restoration. Classic British cinema is celebrated with the 1948 masterpiece set within Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale story about a rising star of the ballet ‘The Red Shoes’ (UK). The restoration of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger’s film took over two years to complete.

Another pure delight is Alexander Korda’s Technicolor fantasy and adventure The Thief Of Baghdad (UK 1940) co-directed by Ludwig Berger, Michael Powell and Tim Whelan. A pure and naive expression of, as it is put in the famous curtain line, the search for “some fun and adventure, at last!”, the film is a milestone in its genre.

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