Cannes Film Festival, the most prestigious event of world cinema, will feature four Bangladeshi short films at this year's edition, to be held May 8-19 at the French Riviera town the festival is named after. The Court Métrage, or short film catalogue of this year's festival, has listed these films on its web site.
Two of the shorts are documentaries, while two are works of fiction, while three of the works surround the Rohingya crisis. As per the festival's short film catalogue, the documentaries are “A Pair of Sandal” by Josim Ahmed and “A Quarter Mile Country” by Noman Robin, while the features are “Rowai” by Iqbal Hossain Chowdhury and “Meghe Dhaka” by Monzurul Alom. Of them, this is the second consecutive Court Métrage outing for Josim and Iqbal, whose films “Daag” and “Dhaka 2.00” respectively were also invited to last year's festival.
“A Pair of Sandal” is a five-minute dialogue-less documentary shot on an iPhone, sweeping over the Rohingya exodus to the Bangladeshi borders from Myanmar since August 2017. It was screened at the Naples Human Rights Film Festival last year.
Noman Robin's “A Quarter Mile Country” is the longest of the four selected titles, at 35 minutes long. It follows a young Myanmarese boy who fled his country and came to Bangladesh, zooming in on the Rohingya refugee influx and how life goes on there.
“Rowai” is the only co-production on the list, between Bangladesh and UK. At 14 minutes in length, it is categorized as a drama, with the synopsis reading “A Rohingya stranded in post-Brexit London” and no other detail available.
“Meghe Dhaka” (English title “Life Without Sun”) sheds light on climate change, and the climate migration hundreds of thousands of Bangladeshis are being forced to. It revolves around a young boy named Habu who is a loom worker, and has to come to the capital after a storm wreaks havoc in his native village.
With over 1,600 short films being part of this year's Court Métrage catalogue, it is hard for one film to stand out, but it definitely is a matter of pride that Bangladeshi filmmakers are slowly but steadily making their way into major film festivals. There is a short film competition at Cannes though, at the end of which is a Palme d'Or du Court Métrage trophy, but that list is much shorter (last year's official competition selection was of 11 films) and will be announced next month.