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Wastage of my time if films don’t influence cinegoers: Zanussi

Renowned Polish filmmaker and scholar Krzysztof Zanussi, who is attending the 3rd Guwahati International Film Festival (GIFF), said that if the people are not influenced by his films, it’s a wastage of time for him as a filmmaker.

Taking part in an interactive session on day two of the seven-day festival, the 80-year-old filmmaker revealed his close association with India.

“…it’s not how many people have watched your film but how many people are influenced by it. It’s a dramatic difference. If my film was screened here yesterday and tomorrow, no one remembers. I think it’s wastage of time. My accountant would say, all the tickets are sold off and it’s great but I would say no…that was bad. But this is a universal problem,” Zanussi said.

Along with Roman Polanski, Krzysztof Kieślowski, and Jerzy Skolimowski Zanussi is one of the most important Polish auteur of his generation. Zanussi’s erudite dramas chronicle the challenges of a post-war, educated class in Poland grappling with the country’s radical change to communism, the burden of their forbearers, and the evolving development of society through the 20th century.

“If my film impressed you…if I left a trace and if I introduce you to some world and you know it because of my film. Then I achieve something,” he said.

Zanussi is also a professor at the Silesian University in Katowice, Poland. Some of the highly acclaimed films of Zanussi are Życie Rodzinne (Family Life), Za Scianą (Behind the Wall), Iluminacja (Illumination), Barwy Ochronne (Camouflage) and Spirala (Spiral) which were made in the 1970s.

He also said that art films should be made more accessible to the common people.

“We should always make an effort to make our films more accessible to the common people but without compromising the quality but avoiding snobistic marvels. We have some beautiful exceptions like Charlie Chaplin who was able to make films that Elbert Einstein admired and illiterate people admired. It’s like miracle which doesn’t happen often,” Zanussi added.

Speaking further on Indian cinema, Zanussi, who was honoured with the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award at the 43rd International Film Festival of India (IFFI) in Goa in 2012, said that he would like to watch more sophisticated films from India.

“Indian cinema keeps its own aesthetics based on Sanskrit drama and not on Greek drama. It’s very exotic to us. I don’t see any other big cinema country that has this kind of sense of identity like India. I would say preserve it as you can and try to make it more sophisticated. I would like to watch more sophisticated films that reflect the same great tradition of storytelling,” Zanussi said.

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