to promote alternative cinema here
By Susitha R. Fernando
Prof. Paolo Minuto is Professor
of Cinema at the University of Reggio Cala-briya, Italy and the
Vice President of the International Federation of Film Societies.
He is also the Director of the International Film Festival, Reggio
Prof. Minuto came to Sri Lanka to participate in a film festival
of award winning Italian Filmmaker Gianni Amelio who is considered
to be one of the most clever and socially involved film directors
films were introduced by Prof. Minutho before each screening and
the festival was organised by Asian Film Centre at the auditorium
of the Public Trustee.
Times : What are your roles as a Professor of Cinema, the Vice President
of the International Federation of Film Societies and the Director
of the International Film Festival, Reggio Calabriya, Italy?
Actually the three roles are quite different in practice. As a professor
I teach the history of Italian cinema and Italian language to foreign
students. I also teach to do research and write.
as the vice President of the International Federation of Film Societies
my job is very tight as I have to fulfil the task of gathering film
societies all over the world together. As the Director of the International
Film Festival, Reggio Calabriya I have got to promote and encourage
the filmmakers who are seeking for alternative cinema.
Can you give a brief introduction to the university of Reggio Calabriya,
It was started with the objective of initiating and exposing foreign
students through Italian cinema and to make them competent filmmakers.
There are number of students from Japan, Nepal, Korea and Singapore
and there are also students who have come in scholarships to study
at the University of Reggio Calabriya. And Reggio Calabriya University
is an institution especially dedicated for foreigners who are interested
the students are exposed to Italian culture and at the same time
we are enriched by their individual cultures. Here there is an integration
of cultures worldwide. TVT: What are the objectives of the International
Federation of Film Societies?
The main objective of IFFS is to coordinate the movements so that
there will be a strong empathy between film societies and it seeks
to find and alternate cinema to the existing Hollywood mainstream
cinemas. We make it conducive to directors of films whose objectives
are different from the mainstream cinema. They get an opportunity
to screen their films to an appreciative audience where as they
may not get that opportunity in the commercial world of films. This
make available for an alternative cinema for the people. Film societies
are very important as they educate people and even to be free in
What are the benefits that the International Film Festival, Reggio
Calabriya, Italy offers?
Europe having the power that wealth can give has to understand its
limitation in the world as a whole. The period of colonisation is
gone and its influence-whatever the influence that remain should
be eradicated. This can be done only in sharing experience and accepting
all traditions cultures and languages as equal forms of communication
and interpersonal relations. At the moment English is given preference
so with this objective the film festival encourages filmmakers internationally
to submit their films and gain recognition.
What is cinema?
A: It is an artistic form of communication in visual and for us
cinema is a part of life style. In this medium of communication
there is no barriers.
So that we don’t approve of censorship we think that it is
the prerogative of the audience to do so and they have the right
to view the film. Cinema is really a way for peace.
What kind of reaction do you expect from the Sri Lankan film going
There was a good response. There were many filmmakers and it was
I realise that the Sri Lankan audience is very receptive and open
to other cultures for example Sri Lanka having a majority of Buddhists,
celebrate Christmas enthusiastically where as we in Italy are conservative
and don’t celebrate other religious festivals. This is really
an encouraging sign where a filmmaker is concerned.
am very happy about the response I got from the Sri Lankan film
going audience. We like to bring more Italian films to Sri Lanka
and we discussed about this with the embassy too. We want to promote
Italian cinema here specifically.
International Federation of Film Societies will be able to make
contacts to screen many of our films.
addition I would say that Italy has a lot to learn from Sri Lankan
culture. Through comparatively financially low I witnessed that
people here have a smile to share with others which you don’t
see in Europe.
How can the cinema appeal to the mass audience respecting their
intelligence and susceptibility?
In cinema it is important to respect the intelligence of the audience.
And we also cannot categorise the cinema to suit the audience and
actually there is no real categorisation in cinema.
the beginning the film critics had to put the cinema in different
categories. But this is a difficult task because films labelled
as popular cinema had fallen into the category of art cinema and
vice versa and there is actually a mixture.
that case we have to respect the audience way of thinking. But to
respect people’s thinking we have to give the people the opportunity
to choose. If they see only Hollywood or Bollywood films we would
not know if they like other kinds of cinema.
should give them the opportunity to see all kinds of films and that
may we may respect their intelligence. For another example Bollywood
cinema doesn’t expose its audience to authentic Indian culture
and tradition. And you don’t see real Indian life in Bollywood
caters only to the Indian unrealistic dreams not reality. But we
have to respect the popular cinema of Hollywood and even Bollywood
as sometimes good films are produced. We have to respect all the