The Filmmakers’ Q&A: Adoor Gopalakrishnan

Adoor Gopalakrishnan of India, the director of Four Women

And the Q&As; keep coming. This time we feature India’s Adoor Gopalakrishnan, who will be at the Festival on 25 September for the screening of his feature-length narrative film Four Women. Hailing from Kerala, Gopalakrishnan made his first film in 1965, and is one of India’s leading filmmakers. He holds the title Commander of the Order of Arts and Letters (France), and was honoured with India’s Dada Saheb Phalke Award, for a lifetime’s achievement in cinema, in 2006.

What’s the first film you remember seeing?

I can’t exactly remember the very first film that I saw, but I vaguely remember having seen the very first talkie made in my language, Malayalam. The title of which was, Balan.

What was the last film you saw?

White Ribbon, this year’s Palme d’Or winner at Cannes, made by Michael Hanneke. This was at the Munich film festival where my last film, A Climate for Crime, was screened. I was not particularly impressed.

Which filmmaker do you admire most?

There are many filmmakers I admire, both Indian and foreign. Among the Indian directors are Satyajit Ray, Ritwik Ghatak and Mrinal Sen.

What film have you seen more than any other?

Pather Panchali by Satyajit Ray; because it was one of the texts at the Film Institute where I had studied.

Are Hindi musicals (i.e. the films of Bollywood) worth considering seriously, or are they just frivolous spectacles?

Some are interesting and well worth studying.

What’s the most important thing you’ve learned about life from filmmaking?

If you go along the current and the conventional, you have a smooth sail. Once you swim against it, you are in for a lot of trouble.

If you hadn’t been a filmmaker, what career would you have chosen?

That of a theatre person. I was already writing, acting and producing plays when I joined the film school.

What advice would you give a young person thinking of a career as a filmmaker?

He or she should not look for any advice from others.

Can a film change the world?

Maybe in a hundred years.

Date: Sun 13 Sep, 2009
Category: ttff news and features

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