Imphal Review of Arts and Politics

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From Cannes to Museum of Modern Art, Manipur’s Cinematic Jewel Takes Centre Stage

Manipur Film Development Society

 

Manipur State Film Development Society achieves international acclaim with the restoration of Aribam Syam Sharma’s masterpiece, “Ishanou” (1990). The film, celebrated at the Cannes Film Festival 2023 with a red-carpet premiere, is all set to grace the prestigious Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) ‘To Save and Project Festival’ in New York this month. The Ishanou screenings at MoMA are scheduled for January 24 and 26, 2024, promising to captivate audiences by Manipuri culture and cinematic excellence.

This cinematic triumph is a collaborative effort, with the Manipur State Film Development Society joining hands with the Film Heritage Foundation (FHF) from Mumbai, and the film’s Producer and Director, Aribam Syam Sharma. FHF’s significant contribution covered a substantial portion of the digitization and restoration expenses, showcasing the power of collaboration for preserving the film heritage of India, a cause championed by FHF.

Since its Cannes amazing new life, Ishanou has embarked on a remarkable journey, enchanting audiences at the Il Cinema Ritrovato festival in Bologna (Italy), the Film Restored festival in Berlin, the Festival des 3 Continents in Nantes, the Singapore International Film Festival, and MAMI in Mumbai. This global recognition not only reaffirms the cultural richness of Manipuri cinema but also sheds light on the resilience of the local film industry and the need for restoration of the old celluloid Manipuri films.

Looking ahead, Ishanou is poised to continue its international travel, with screenings scheduled at the Cinema Reborn festival in Sydney and Melbourne in May 2024. This affirms the film’s enduring appeal and the universal themes it explores. Despite the unrest in Manipur, Ishanou stands tall as a testament to the power of storytelling and the indomitable spirit of its creators.

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