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Showcasing India’s Cinematic Brilliance at the 77th Cannes Film Festival

The French Riviera is set to transform into a cinematic paradise with the 77th edition of the Cannes Film Festival scheduled to commence on May 14th. This year, the globally esteemed event will witness a notable representation from India, as seven diverse films from the country have been officially selected to be part of the festival’s prestigious lineup. This comes as a reaffirmation of India’s burgeoning impact on the international film circuit.

Among the films, ‘All We Imagine As Light,’ a Malayalam-language feature, emerges as one of India’s prime entries with director Payal Kapadia at the helm. Viewers will have the opportunity to experience this piece of Indian storytelling on May 23rd, where the narrative explores the lives of two roommates, both nurses at a hospital, as they traverse the complexities of love and the journey of self-discovery. The film bears the distinction of being the first Indian entry in the main segment, the coveted Palme d’Or competition, since the 1994 screening of ‘Swaham.’

Breaking barriers in the Un Certain Regard section is ‘Santosh,’ directed by British-Indian filmmaker Sandhya Suri. Shahana Goswami leads the drama, portraying a newly-widowed woman who takes on her late husband’s role as a police constable in rural northern India, reflecting a rich tapestry of cultural and gender dynamics.

The spirit of Indian short films at Cannes is kept alive with ‘Sunflowers Were The First Ones To Know,’ directed by Chidanand Naik, a student of the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII). This Kannada offering will find its place in the Cinéfondation or La Cinef section of the festival.

Adding a vintage flavor to the proceedings, the 1976 classic ‘Manthan’ will grace the Cannes Classics selection. Directed by Shyam Benegal, this Hindi film featuring actors Smita Patil, Naseeruddin Shah, Girish Karnad, and Kulbhushan Kharbanda, is a reflective tale set against the backdrop of a rural milk cooperative movement.

The Directors’ Fortnight has selected ‘Sister Midnight,’ featuring the versatile Radhika Apte and helmed by Karan Kandhari. The film unfolds the saga of a woman’s fight against oppression within the confines of a challenging married life in a slum, seeking retribution amid adversity.

The international section, the Association for the Distribution of Independent Cinema, will screen ‘In Retreat.’ The film, crafted by director Syed Maisam Ali Shah, unfolds the tale of a man revisiting his hometown after years, potentially unraveling layers of his past and present.

Last but certainly not least is ‘The Shameless,’ directed by Bulgarian filmmaker Konstantin Bojanov. Set in India and shot across the Indian subcontinent and Nepal, the film weaves a poignant narrative of Rani, an Indian sex worker on a path of self-discovery. She embarks on a pilgrimage to a sequestered temple, confronting her life’s choices interwoven with an incarcerated former lover. ‘The Shameless’ will also premiere in the Un Certain Regard section, promising a cinematic experience that transcends borders.

As the Cannes Film Festival continues to be a beacon for cinematic excellence, these seven Indian films will contribute to a rich narrative diversity, celebrating India’s cinematic heritage and contemporary storytelling on the global stage. Audiences will delve into tales of love, self-discovery, societal norms, redemption, and complex human emotions, as these films carry the heart of Indian cinema to the worldwide audience at Cannes.