International Film Festival previews lesser known reels

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By: Sam Watermeier <[email protected]>

Film buffs beware: The Indianapolis International Film Festival at the Keystone Art Cinema is ending two days from now. If you really rush, you can catch today’s 3:30 showing of “May the Best Man Win” after school. In “May the Best Man Win,” a man hires a director to document his wedding. Then things go awry when the man cannot decide on his best man. So the director devises an intense, no-holds-barred contest between the man’s friends to determine the best man and the comedy ensues.

The big film in the festival however is “Mongol,” an Academy Award nominee for Best Foreign Language Film. This is not the only film directed by Russian filmmaker Sergei Bodrov that was nominated for an Academy Award. His 1996 film “Prisoner of the Mountains” was also nominated. “Mongol” tells the story of Genghis Khan, the famous conqueror of Mongolia. According to Variety magazine, this film is “Russia’s largest-scale co-production with Asia to date.” More importantly, the film has garnered controversy over its depiction of Khan. The same Variety magazine article states that Mongolians are offended by the lack of historical accuracy in “Mongol” and feel that it is humiliating to their national pride.

Bodrov explains, “For us, Genghis Khan lived 800 years ago, and he’s an extraordinary historical figure. For Mongolians, he is a living person — even today, he’s important and critical. They see him as the father of their nation.” Bodrov said he is not interested in offending anyone. He is just concerned with telling this story the best way he possibly can. Bodrov said, “We have found an extraordinary story — about love, about Genghis Khan, about a boy who was an orphan and then went on to conquer half the world, more than Alexander and all the other conquerors.” The article states that he is hoping the film will match the success of other Asian films like Jet Li’s “Hero” and “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.”

“Mongol” is playing tomorrow at 7 p.m. The closing night party and awards ceremony are after the film at 9. Tickets to these ceremonies are $20 in advance and $25 at the door. For the films before these events, individual tickets are $10 per show but are limited due to All-Access Passports and 10 ticket bundles. 10 ticket bundles allow you to get 10 tickets for $75, saving 25 percent off the standard price. Unlike All-Access Passports, bundles are transferable. If you have not purchased tickets yet, you are behind the eight ball and are basically out of luck. Also, as the web site for the festival warns, “You MUST arrive 10 minutes before the show time to guarantee a seat.”

On Sunday, award-winning short films from Indiana high school and college students are showing. They will start at noon and end in the evening at 8:45. Some of the highlights are the “Grand Jury Prize” winners for Documentary, World Cinema and American Spectrum. The last film shown is the Audience Award winner for Best Narrative Feature.

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