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2015 - Dariush Mehrjui

Eminent filmmaker and spearhead of Iran’s cinematic renaissance Dariush Mehrjui is bestowed with the lifetime achievement award of this year’s IFFK.At the van of the Iranian New Wave movement of the 1970, Mehrjui introduced hitherto little-explored cinematic themes and narratives. Infused with a heady mix of realism and symbolism, his films helped foster the development of art house sensibilities among a fast-maturing cinema audience.After debuting with the unsuccessful Diamond 33 (1966), a big budget parody of Bond films, Mehrjui found acclaim and recognition with Gaav (The Cow, 1969), the film was adapted from a short story by Iranian literary giant Gholamhossein Sa’edi.

His films find kinship with the works of Roberto Rosselini, Vittorio de Sica and Satyajit Ray, his oeuvre possess a distinctively Iranian flavour in part because they were mostly inspired from Iranian literature.In 1973, Mehrjui created his magnum opus, The Cycle (1975).It was Iran’s first submission for Best Foreign Language Film at the 50th Academy Awards in 1977. The film was banned for three years before being released in Iran in 1978.Mehrjui will be feted at the IFFK 2015 inaugural ceremony. A cash prize of Rs 5 lakh accompanies the citation.



2014 - Marco Bellocchio
Marco Bellocchio is one filmmaker who pursued certain themes throughout his life and career, always historicizing his narratives and giving his situations a brooding quality, and his characters a melancholy charm. His films go on asking troubling and uneasy questions to all the powers-that-be, political, ideological and spiritual, that promised liberation and freedom, but ultimately failed to deliver anything but demand for obeisance and servility. In his own words, “…throughout the years, my imagination keeps going back to the same themes, but with a very different outlook, a very different perspective.

The stories do come back, but my way of looking at these stories has radically shifted. While in 'Fists in the Pocket' I morally share or support the choice of the protagonist to kill the mother—not in a criminal way, but in a philosophical way—in 'My Mother’s Smile' I am on the side of the character who rejects the murder. That’s a very different perspective. This Bellochio’s films stand testimony to 20th century history with all the tragic beauty and strength of its dreams and frustrations, hopes and disappointments, making him not only the conscience of Italy but of the world. What makes his films compelling lessons in life and liberation are their ability to combine a deep distrust for all kinds of fundamentalism and totalitarianism, even while being enchanted by dreams of hope and calls for freedom.
2013 - Carlos Saura

Silver bear in the Berlin International Film Festival for ‘La Caza’ in 1965 and ‘Peppermint Frappe’ in 1967, special jury awards in Cannes for ‘La Prima Angelica’ in 1973 and ‘Cria Cuervos’ in 1975, Oscar nominations for the Film Mama Cumple 100 Anos, special jury ward at the San Sebastian Festival and two Goya awards are some of the many achievements that have decorated the internationally acclaimed filmmaker Carlos Saurasa’s life.


During his 50years as a filmmakers, Carlos Saura has been witness to all kinds of convulsions in Spanish cinema and its socio-political content. Saura’s films, born under the attentive gaze of Franco’s authority and censorship, followed Spain’s metamorphosis into democratic state with constant focus on contemporary realities, but with a reminder of the historical memories and artistic roots of Spanish cultural heritage.


Ranked among Europe’s elite filmmakers, Carlos Saura had his greatest impact in the late ‘60s


And early ‘70s when his political charged films revitalized Spanish cinema. Like his mentor Luis Bunuel, saura freely blends reality with the appalling and at times with surrealistic textures. ‘The Hunt’ was the first Saura film produced by Elias Querejeta with whom the director went on to establish a long standing professional relationship. Their 12 collaborations constitute perhaps the most interesting and compact phase of Saura’s career. With ‘Peppermint Frappe’, Saura’s regular creative team further expanded to include screenwriter Rafael Azcona, who would co-author six more films with the director, and actress Geraldine Chaplin, who would be his partner for over a decade.


Born in 1932 in Huesca, Saura spent the civil war years (1936-39) in Republican territory, and this left an unmistakeable imprint on his work. The war had a tremendous impact on Saura, and his anippets of his vivid, often terrifying, memories would later appear in his films. As a young man, Saura briefly studied engineering but at the age of 18, he left school to become a professional freelance photographer.


While Sauras’s work in the sixties and seventies is distinguished by its vitality drive and socio-political relevance, in the Nineties his films moved along more creative paths. After the death of Franco in 1975, Saura avoided political content and explored musical and folkloric dance forms with Sevillanas and Flamenco, both of which are inventories of different subgenres of flamenco performance. His trilogy of flamenco-dance dramas -- ‘Bodes de sangre’ (Blood weeding), ‘Carmen’ and ‘El Amor Brujo’ (Love the Magician)—were innovative versions of classic stories, done in collaboration with cinematographer Victoria Storaro, gave his abstract conceptions a much more stylized rather flamboyant imprint.


‘Carmen’, based on prosper Merimee’s 1875 novella, included musical passages from Geroges Bizet’s 1875 opera and fused rehearsal performance, and a contempory mirror of Merimee’s plot; long portions of film were dance without dialogue. Saura’s later movies included ‘El Dorado’ (1988); ‘Tango’ (1988), which won the Academy Award nomination for best foreign film; ‘Salome’ (2002); and the documentary ‘Fados’ (2007).


Saura was born the second of four children. His mother, who was a pianist instilled in him the love for music and his brother, Antonio, who was a note abstract expressionist painter, the passion for art. His father was a lawyer. Carlos Saura is an excellent photographer, an activity that he shares in a sporadic way with the making of films.

2010 - Werner Herzog

Werner Herzog's name belongs to the pantheon of German New Wave Film Makers in which feature the directors Reiner Fassbinder, Margaret Von Trotta and Wim Wenders. The oddities of life, the surreal and the bizarre, the tormented and anything that went contrary to accepted norms seemed to have great appeal for the master filmmaker. The themes and manner of handling films always earned repute, and his filmmaking process is part of film lore and history.


When Herzog says of the eminent precursors that "Of the filmmakers with whom i feel some kinship, Griffith, Murnau, Pudovkin, Bunuel and Kurozova come to mind. Everything these men did has a touch of greatness", it is also indicative of the benchmarks he had set for his own creativity. A director, producer, screenwriter, actor and opera director, Herzog's works contain a quality which can only be outcome of a mind that goes beyond the mundane and yet remains rooted in societal trends, be it bourgeois values, burgeoning consumerism, or reflections on life in outposts of civilization.


Werner Herzog was born in 1942 in a small Bawarian town, at a time when the dark clouds of the Second World War hovered over Europe. He lost an opportunity to write a screenplay because a German film producer found him 'too young'. Herzog enrolled in the University of Munich as a history and literature student but moved on to make his first film, the short twelve minute Herakles. His enthusiasm to make films made him take up a job as a welder in night shifts to make money for the film. A formal course in film making held no charm for the young Herzog, who knew early enough that filmmaking could only be learnt 'hands-on'.


In 1963, he established his own production house, Werner Herzog Film Production, designed to give him complete autonomy over all of his projects. As a filmmaker, he seeks fulfilment in portraying reality, displaying a fearlessness, risking at all, even the cast and crew to get "the shot"


Herzog's films have learned awards and critical acclaim at major film festivals. Among them are the Silver Bear for his first feature film Signs of Life, the best director award for Fitzcarraldo and Special Jury Prize for his movie The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser at the 1982 Cannes Film Festival, and Golden Palm for Woyzeck and where the green ants dream- these are just some of the many. A look at the body of work would remain incomplete without a mention of Klaus Klinski, the main actor of the awesome films like Fitzcarraldo, Aguirre, the wrath of God and Woyzeck to name just a few.


Having made his first film at nineteen, Werner Herzog continues to create wonderment with the exquisite frames of the distant Taiga (Happy People: A year in the Taiga, or a community in the South Pole and Encounters at the End of the World), or the differing world view in Even Dwarfs Started Small


2009 - Mrinal Sen

Mrinal Sen a renowned Bengali filmmaker based in Kolkata. Along with his contemporaries Satyajit Ray and Ritwik Ghatak, he is often considered to be one of the greatest ambassadors of Indian parallel cinema on the global stage his cinema is known for its artistic depiction of social reality. His interest in films started after he stumbled upon a book on film aesthetics. However his interest remained mostly intellectual, and he was forced to take up a job of a medical representative, which took him away from Calcutta. This did not last very long, and he came back to the city and eventually took a job of an audio technician in a Calcutta film studio, which was the beginning of his film carrier.Mrinal Sen made his first feature film in 1953, which he soon tried to forget. His next film, Neel Akasher Nichey (Under the Blue Sky), earned him local recognition, while his third film, Baishey Shravan (Wedding Day) was his first film that gave him international exposure.


After making five more films, he made a film with a shoe-string budget provided by the government of India. This film, Bhuvan Shome (Mr. Shome), finally launched him as a major filmmaker, both nationally and internationally. Bhuvan Shome also initiated the 'New Cinema' film movement in India.His next few films were overtly political, and earned him the reputation as a Marxist artist. This was also the time of large-scale political unrest throughout India, particularly in and around Calcutta. This phase was immediately followed by a series of films where he shifted his focus, and instead of looking for enemies outside, he looked for the enemy within his own middle-class society. This was arguably his most creative phase and won him a large number of international awards.Mrinal Sen never stopped experimenting with his medium. In his later films he tried to move away from the narrative structure and worked with very thin story lines. After a long gap of eight years, at the age of eighty, he made his latest film, Aamar Bhuban, in 2003.


During his career, Mrinal Sen's film have received awards from almost all major film festivals, including Cannes, Berlin, Venice, Moscow, Karlovy Vary, Montreal, Chicago, and Cairo. Retrospectives of his films have been shown in almost all major cities of the world.Apart from his films, he has also received a number of personal honors. He received the Padma Bhushan, and in 2005 he was awarded the Dadasaheb Phalke Award, the highest honor given to an Indian filmmaker, by the Government of India. He was also an honorary Member of the Indian Parliament from 1998 to 2003. The French government awarded him the Commandeur de l'ordre des Arts et letters (Commander of the Order of Arts and Letters), the highest honor conferred by thecountry. In 2001 The Russian government honored him with the Order of Friendship. He has also received a number of honorary Doctorate degrees from various universities. Mrinal Sen was the president of the International Federation of the Film Societies. He also served as member of International Jury at various film festivals, including Cannes, Venice, Berlin, Moscow, Karlovy Vary, Tokyo, Tehran, Mannheim, Nyon, Chicago, Ghent, Tunis, and Oberhausen.


In 2004 Mrinal Sen completed his autobiographical book, Always Being Born. In 2008 Mrinal Sen was awarded Lifetime Achievement awards by Osian's-Cinefan Festival and by the International Film Festival in India. In 2009 International Film Festival of Kerala awarded their first Lifetime Achievement Award to him.

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