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Goa Film festival to open with 4 Months, 3 weeks...

The Romanian winner of the Palme d'Or and the FIPRESCI Award at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival, "4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days", will be the opening movie of the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) which begins in Goa Nov 23.

The film is set in communist Romania in the final years of the Nicolae Ceausescu era. It tells the tragic story of two students, roommates in the university dormitory, who try to arrange an illegal abortion for one of them in the late 1980s.

After making its worldwide debut at Cannes, the film made its Romanian debut on June 1 at the Transylvania International Film Festival.

Directorate of Film Festivals chief Neelam Kapur announced in New Delhi that the opening ceremony would be "simple and elegant" and in keeping with international standards. Ever since the venue of IFFI was shifted to Goa in 2004, the organisers have been criticised for attempting a distracting carnival, also lending to congestion in the state capital Panaji.

Noted Bollywood actor Shahrukh Khan will be the chief guest at the inaugural ceremony, which will be attended by politicians from New Delhi and Goa and other film personalities.

The director of the opening film Cristian Mungiu and the lead actress Anamaria Marinca are expected to be present at the inaugural ceremony.
Besides, there will be delegates from Netherlands, China, Poland and Mexico.

The Indian Panorama section of IFFI 2007 will showcase 36 films, including 21 feature films. The section will have two works each of stalwarts Budhadeb Dasgupta and Adoor Gopalakrishnan.

The section will have the feature films "Ami Iyasin Aar Amaar Madhubala" (The Voyeurs) and "Naalu Penunungal" (Four Women) as well as non-feature films "Naushad Ali - The Melody Continues" and "The Dance of the Enchantress".

Debut directors like Sameer Hanchante, Samir Chanda and Bhavna Talwar will present their films "Gafla" (Scam), "Ek Nadir Galpo" (Tale of a River), and "Dharm" respectively at the festival.

A specialised competition for feature films by Asian, African and Latin American directors is also being organized. Films produced after Sep 1, 2006 are eligible.

Fourteen films have been selected from 13 countries for the competition. Eminent Hungarian filmmaker Marta Mazaros heads the jury, which includes Turkish actress Meltem Cumbul, Kerala cinematographer, film director and script-writer Shaji N. Karun, Argentine film director Pablo Cesar and New Zealand film-maker Robert Sarkies.

A special section celebrating 60 years of India's independence, India @ 60, will showcase seven patriotic films including three feature and four documentaries.

The chief executive officer of the Entertainment Society of Goa, Nandini Paliwal, said theatre facilities are being significantly upgraded for IFFI 2007. This year, nine theatres with a total seating capacity of 3,026 will be part of the festival complex, compared to five theatres with a total seating capacity of 2,200 last year.

Theatres that will be part of the festival are Inox Multiplex (four screens), Kala Academy (two screens), Ashok and Samrat (two screens).
Two new screens, which have the capacity to be looped, are being added to Maquinez Palace. Officials said a "state of the art media centre"
had been set up in the same compound.

The registration of delegates has been made completely online for the festival this year. Officials are claiming that 2,700 applications, including 1,200 from Goa, have already been approved although the last date for registration is Nov 20.

To avoid long queues at theatres, a system of booking of tickets three days in advance has been introduced this time. There will be real time display on TV screens around the venue with information on seat availability for each screening. Long queues and crowds had marred the smooth functioning of the festival in previous years.

By Frederick Noronha

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