'Raman Raghav 2.0' to commerce of cinema: Firstpost goes to Cannes with Q
Editor’s note: Director, storyteller, flaneur and provocateur Q will travel to the Cannes Film Festival to promote his new work Brahman Naman. Firstpost asked him if he’d take along a camera to record an insider’s view of the proceedings. Q’s dispatches will appear as Facebook Live sessions and as videos on Firstpost.
Cannes. Mecca of cinema. Not the kind you watch at your friendly favourite multiplex. Heightened cinema. Exalted cinema. Cinema that shifts senses and expands minds. That help us get an idea about reality and society through fantasy and imagination. The art form that combines all art forms and can mesmerise.
Cannes. That's where I am headed. To that quaint little sea town where the riviera is peacock blue and people drink wine instead of water.
I have been to Cannes before. Because what you don't know is that this is also the biggest marketplace for international cinema. The Marche du Cannes is a spectacularly large gathering of filmmakers producers distributors agents and talents. This is where worldwide deals are struck and the business of potent cinema is facilitated.
So while the glam scene pops, the red carpet dazzles with candyfloss, thousands of soldiers of cinema toil on and present their dream to the marketplace of gold dust.
I have been there, walking the croisette up and down, meeting people from all over and discussing the possibilities of realising my films. It's here that I have found my sales agents, my distributors on strange countries, people who burn the same oil as I do.
So what's the difference? Is it just that I am canvassing for foreign films based on a loose theory of whatever is foreign is better than what we do? I beg to differ. The issue is about how we look at the business of cinema. And that's a tricky territory.
The key difference between Europe and the rest of the world is that it sees cinema as a vital art form that is essential in shaping a cultural capital. Which, in turn, is instrumental in making people aware of the world around them and understand from the subtleties of the presentation of a particular film. So filmmakers can think of working more on the way they would like to portray a particular situation instead of having stock reactions to induce sales.
It's the difference between artwork and commodity. In our case, a crass sense of what works in the marketplace takes precedence over everything. People are least concerned or excited about the enormity of a cinematic idea. This makes us keep going back to a formulaic structure when we think films. A vicious circle thats almost impossible to get around.
Here, though, the rules are different. An for the last twenty odd years, the business of modern art house cinema, and it's many facets, are the focus of discussion and commerce. Yes commerce. Because however big you think the last Salman Khan movie was, it was smaller than the Chinese or the American or the French big film collection. The insular quality of thinking in the Indian film fraternity robbed us of an opportunity to make cinema at a level where the world will be our audience.
So it's with great joy that we celebrate Anurag's new film, Raman Raghav 2.0, which premieres here at Cannes this year, in the Directors Fortnight section. He has been here before. It's a super prestigious section that was started by the masters of the new wave cinema. Two years back I watched Jodorowski's comeback film Dance of Reality in this section. A screening that took one back to the glory days of cinema. I am looking forward to watching Raman Raghav there, with an audience hungry for fabulous new ideas.
I will be reporting from there, inside the market, outside the booths, places no journalist goes to, bringing you video snips of what goes on, and who goes where. I will meet people who make this cinema happen, and discuss things serious and fun. You will see producers and actors, behind the scenes craftspeople who make the impossible come true.
It's always sunny there, and I hope that you, the audience of Firstpost, log in. Because I will show you a Cannes that goes beyond the glitter and gets to the core. I will try to get you closer to the world of mindful cinema where I belong.
Cannes 2016 with me, Q. Come.