KARACHI, Dec 10: The Karachi International Film Festival 2013, organised by the Dawn Media Group, came to an end on Tuesday with films and documentaries featuring disappearing communities and lifestyles in the Alpine regions. These world cinema films featured titles from Switzerland, the Netherlands and Italy being screened at Cinepax, Ocean Mall.
The transience of human life, the ups and downs of relations between parents and children and the progression to becoming an adult from childhood were some of the several themes that were explored in the 2010 Dutch film Bon Voyage, directed sensitively by Margien Rogaar. The story focuses on the Veerbeeks who are driving off for a vacation in France when they get a phone call that the father of Tine Veerbeek (Anneke Blok) has fallen quite ill. Tine’s husband Fred (Reinout Bussemaker) turns the car around to return home in Denmark. From then on Bon Voyage explores the lives of Bob, Tine’s father, who undertakes arrangements of his funeral along with his curious little granddaughter Jasmijn (an adorable performance by Scyler Eijgermans). One memorable scene between Bob and Jasmijn goes when they are both washing hands with a large bar of soap after planting saplings. Jasmijn says that she will take the soap with her after he dies so that whenever she and her siblings miss their grandfather, they will wash their hands with that soap and that way they can smell him. Then Anouk (Mirre Balke), teen daughter of Fred and Tine, exploring her sexuality and Jochem (Casper van Rijnberk) whose friendship with his best friend Guido is tested.
One must mention the music of this unadorned film that the director kept it simple with strumming of guitar chords.
Another family, the Herauds, was the centre of the 2005 Italian film Il vento fa il suo giro, (The Wind Blows Round). The young French family decides to relocate to a remote village Chersogno in northern Italy after a nuclear plant is built at their place of residence. The Herauds headed by Chris, a cheese-maker, arrives with their goats and are warmly welcomed by the villagers and throw a feast for them. However, most are suspicious of this young family, gossiping about their apparent lack of religious beliefs and leaving their young children unattended most times.
The Wind Blows Round raises interesting questions about tolerance, culture, frustrations and highlights the dilemmas of the Occitan-speaking youth who are at crossroads in their fast disappearing community.
Farewell My Mountain, a documentary from Switzerland, puts the spotlight on Robert Guillet’s efforts to raise the profile of his community’s export cheese in other countries. The 54-year-old grizzly bearded cheese-maker from the Alpines undertakes a trip to Paris along with his wife and daughter to meet one of the greatest cheese-makers in France, in order to assess the value of his Vacherin cheese. The patriarch is highly pleased especially because he is treated with a great deal of respect by the Parisian cheese-maker but is shocked to find out about the low price of their Alpine cheese even though it is of superior to other cheeses. Guillet goes back and discusses plans and options in their cooperative’s meeting to increase the repute of their cheese.
Mohammad Ali Jinnah University campus-III auditorium in collaboration with the consulate-general of Japan screened two Japanese films later in the evening: Water Boys (2001) and Hana No Ato (2008).