ISLAMABAD: Freedom for the Wolf – a German film kicked off the 16 day International Film Festival highlighting human rights through cinematography arranged by United Nations Information Center in Islamabad (UNIC) here on Sunday at Pakistan National Council of the Arts (PNCA).
The film focused on the theme `Democracy is in crisis” as a new generation of elected leaders is dismantling freedom and democracy. Filmed over three years in five countries, Freedom for the Wolf is an epic investigation into this new regime. From the young students of Hong Kong to a rapper in post-Arab Spring Tunisia and the viral comedians of Bollywood, the film discovers how people from every corner of the globe are fighting the same struggle. They are fighting against elected leaders who trample on human rights, minorities, and their political opponents.
Director of the film Rupert Russell and his producers, Camilla Hall and Patrick Hamm, filmed in five countries – Tunisia, India, Japan, Hong Kong, United States – over three continents. In their search for the modern meaning of freedom, they interviewed pro-China politicians, leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood, Hindu nationalist vigilantes, Tunisian rappers, Bollywood comedians, and Trump-voting autoworkers. The event is being arranged in celebration of 70 years of Universal Declaration of Human Rights in collaboration with the European Union. The 4th edition of the international film festival will take place till 10 December featuring 27 thematic documentaries to be screened in Gujrat, Islamabad, Karachi, Lahore, Multan, Mardan, Peshawar, Quetta, Rawalpindi, and Swat.
Documentaries are focused on the universality of human rights and related human stories across the world. Among the key themes are the freedom of expression, minority rights, gender equality, access to justice and the death penalty. Screenings will be followed by discussions with filmmakers, journalists, government and civil society representatives and human rights defenders.
Credits roll for Moscow’s Soviet-era cinemas
MOSCOW: Scattered throughout the city’s outlying neighbourhoods, Moscow’s Soviet-era cinemas have for decades served as the centre of communities.
With names like “Mars” and “The Diamond”, the cinemas were mostly built in the 1960s and 70s during a Soviet film boom and were popular even after the collapse of the USSR, offering cheaper tickets than their counterparts in shopping centres.
Now – as part of a wider plan changing the face of the Russian capital – almost 40 of them are being turned into modern glass complexes.
Developers say the project will brighten up dreary suburbs and bring more life to dormant residential districts.
But it has faced a backlash from activists and residents, who say it will deprive locals of community focal points and destroy important architectural heritage.
The plan is part of a major city redevelopment programme led by Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin that has included the construction of a multi-billion-dollar park and the demolition of Soviet-era pre-fab apartments.
Real estate company ADG Group bought 39 Soviet-built cinemas from the government and plans to turn them into what it calls “neighbourhood centres”.
Grigory Pechersky, ADG Group’s founder and co-director, said the majority of the cinemas were in “extremely poor” condition when his company bought them in 2014.
“Around half of them were closed since the 1990s,” he told AFP in the group’s central Moscow office.
Pechersky said the project aims to “recreate the historical function of the cinemas, which is for residents to spend their free time comfortably.”
Moscow’s infrastructure in residential areas is limited, he said, and Muscovites tend to travel to the huge city’s centre for quality entertainment and shopping.
“Those areas are very densely populated but in many cases there is nothing there,” he said, adding that around 10 million people live between Moscow’s two main beltways where the cinemas are located.
All but three of the cinemas will be completely torn down and rebuilt.
One of those surviving is the 1938 Rodina (Motherland) cinema, a Stalinist landmark in northeastern Moscow with huge pillars and Soviet mosaics, where ADG Group plans to reopen the building’s original rooftop terrace.
The rest of the cinemas were built in the brutalist style – a utilitarian form of architecture popular in the Soviet Union in the second half of the 20th century.
Built in the shape of simple squares, some are on local high streets such as Almaz (The Diamond), a 1964 cinema painted turquoise in southern Moscow’s leafy Shabolovka district.
Others – like the Angara, which is named after a Siberian river and already under reconstruction — are surrounded by typical late-Soviet housing blocks.
According to ADG Group, they have “little architectural value”.
The company hired the British architectural firm run by Amanda Levete – who has worked on London’s V&A Museum and Lisbon’s MAAT contemporary art centre — to design a concept for the new cinemas.
The group’s main architect Alexei Belyakov said the cinemas will be reconstructed in a similar style, to form a recognisable “network” across the far-flung districts.
In drawings seen by AFP, they will all have a glass front and will be considerably larger, to make room for retail space and cafes.
All they will retain is the logos of their original names – taken from cities and rivers of the Soviet Union, planets, mountains and precious stones.
Belyakov said that while the cinemas “were built in the spirit of the time, they are not practical anymore.”
But many Moscow architects disagree.
Ruben Arakelyan, who runs a Moscow-based architectural bureau, said that while it’s “right” to revive the cinemas, the brutalist buildings could have been preserved.
He said some of the cinemas began “dying out” when people increasingly started to travel to the city centre for work after the fall of the Soviet Union.
Local activists worry the cinemas will be turned into regular shopping malls — of which Moscow already has an abundance.
“They tell us that these are depressing places that need to be torn down,” said Klim Likhachev, the head of a residents’ group to save the Almaz cinema.
“But this is our favourite cinema. Nobody asked the residents,” Likhachev said. “By reconstruction they actually mean demolition. They are calling it a ‘neighbourhood centre’, but it will in fact be another banal shopping centre.”
Activist Pyotr Ivanov said the problem with the plan was that it assumed each neighbourhood where the cinemas are based had the same needs.
“All of them are different. You could only make universal decisions like that in a command economy like the Soviet Union,” he said.
Two Metro stations away from Almaz, residents have also been fighting to preserve the Ulaanbaatar, named after the capital of once Soviet-friendly Mongolia.
Another of the movie theatres, the Baku Cinema in northwestern Moscow, has served as a community centre for the Azerbaijani diaspora since the Soviet era.
ADG Group’s Belyakov brushed aside criticism, saying it was important for the Russian capital to look to the future.
“Moscow is moving forward,” he said.
Lok Virsa screens ‘Saiqa’ 1968, inaugurates ‘Diorama’
ISLAMABAD: National Institute of Folk and Traditional Heritage (Lok Virsa) Mandwa Film Club has organized a screening of classic Urdu film “Saiqa” (1968) here at its media center.
Film “Saiqa”, directed by Laiq Akhtar, starring Shamim Ara, Mohammad Ali, and Darpan, was a super hit film of the time.
It is most remembered for its outstanding music composed by Nisar Bazmi featuring voices of Mala, Naseem Begum, Runa Laila, Mehdi Hassan, and Ahmad Rushdi. Some memorable classics include “A Baharo, Gawah Rehna, A Nazaro, Gawah Rehna”, “A Meri Zindagi, A Meri Aarzoo”.
The film screening was attended by a large number of people from different walks of life. Incharge Mandwa Film Club Aijaz Gul said that the club welcomes the new year with a screening of classic Urdu film
Lok Virsa Mandwa film club will continue its effort to promote Pakistan film industry and its artists by projecting their work here at Lok Virsa. As well as we are promoting the soft image and projecting the positivity of our country in the world.
Ethnic Wedding Costumes:
Lok Virsa would inaugurate a new Diorama on “Ethnic Wedding Costumes of Pakistan (Women)” depicting wedding, traditional costumes from all provinces including Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Jammu Kashmir on January 10.
Lok Virsa is a specialized institution dealing with research, collection, documentation, preservation, and dissemination of Pakistan’s traditional culture, a senior official told APP.
“Established in the year 1974, the Institute has made notable achievements in the field of culture at home and abroad. These include the establishment of the first ethnological museum in Pakistan, officially named as Pakistan National Museum of Ethnology and popularly known as “Heritage Museum” he said.
He said that the Museum depicts living cultural traditions and lifestyles of the people covering whole Pakistan including remote and far-flung areas, presented through three-dimensional creative manner. The Museum has a covered area of 60,000 square feet which makes it the largest Museum in Pakistan.
Besides documenting the indigenous folk heritage of Pakistan, the Museum also projects cultures of other friendly and brotherly countries that share similarities and influences with the culture of Pakistan including China, Iran, Turkey, and the Central Asian States through various link passages showcasing artifacts contributed by them, he added.
He said that the Museum is an important show-window on Pakistan’s living culture which is frequented by around fifty thousand visitors a month. This includes VIP delegates, dignitaries, state guests, students, researchers, and the general public.
The improvement of the existing displays and the creation of new dioramas is an on-going process at the Museum. In this context, Lok Virsa has created a new Diorama on “Ethnic Wedding Costumes of Pakistan (Women)”.
The inauguration ceremony will feature a specially produced “Traditional/Wedding Costumes Show” presented by male and female models on ramp on the beautiful tunes of the popular folk musical instruments (Rabab, Santoor, Alghoza, Dandung, Saroz, Flute, etc.).
Live folk musical performances by folk artists and folk musicians are also included in the program.
Lok Virsa to pay tribute to Noor Jehan
ISLAMABAD: Lok Virsa Mandwa Film Club would organize a screening of the evergreen film “Baji” 1963 on December 29 at its media center to pay tribute to late Malika-e-Tarannum Noor Jehan.
Film “Baji” was directed by S.Suleiman, features poetry by Ahmad Rahi composed in beautiful melodies by Saleem Iqbal.
Full star cast include Nayyar Sultana, Darpan, Zeba, Lehri, Salma Mumtaz and Talish. Songs are recorded in voices of Madam Noorjahan, Naseem Begum, Najma Niazi, Saleem Raza, Farida Khanum, Ustad Salamat Ali Khan and Ustad Naz.
“Baji” is remembered today for its music and array of guest stars which was the first of it’s kind in that era. Some famous songs include “Chanda Tori Chandni Mein”, “Dil Kay Afsanay Nigahon Ki Zuban Tak Pohnchay”.
Madam Noor Jehan also was known by honorific title Malika-e-Tarannum, the Queen of melody was playback singer and actress who worked first in British India and then in Pakistan.
She was renowned as one of the greatest and most influential singers of all time especially throughout South Asia and was given the honorific title of Malika-e-Tarannum in Pakistan.