‘Poetry and films are like zebra’s white and black stripes’
KARACHI: Film and poetry buffs were treated to a selection of fine short films from the critically acclaimed ZEBRA Poetry Film Festival screened at T2F on Friday evening.
The event was part of the ongoing poetry project initiated by the Goethe Institut.
Introducing the films to the audience, Goethe Institut Director Stefan Winkler said the institute had come up with a workshop of poets writing in Urdu, Sindhi and German languages in which the poets would translate each other’s work. (All six of the poets were present on the occasion.)
The closing event of the workshop would be held at T2F on Nov 16 at T2F, entailing a discussion and presentation of some of the translated poems, he said.
Giving information on the ZEBRA Film Festival, Mr Winkler said it was one-of-a-kind event that began in 2002. Organised every two years in Germany, it showcased short movies based on poems, and so far a variety of diverse poetry films had been shown in its seven editions. He said Dr Thomas Wohlfahrt was supposed to introduce the films on Friday, but he could not make it from Dubai.
About the festival’s name, he quoted Dr Wohlfahrt saying it was so because film and poetry were like the black and white stripes of a zebra, “fitting together wonderfully”.
On the scale of the festival, he said 870 films from 63 countries entered the festival in 2012 alone.
After his brief speech, half a dozen awarded films were shown.
The first short, directed by Antonello Faretta, was ‘Just Say No to Family Values’ based on poet John Giorno’s poem who himself featured in the movie. It was followed by ‘Of Burning Hills’ directed by Jason White. The film was based on a poem by the celebrated Canadian author and the writer of the Booker prize winning novel The English Patient, Michael Ondaatje.
The third piece was called ‘The Dice Player’, directed by 26-year-old Egyptian girl Nissmah Roshdy. The short was an incisive visual interpretation of one of the poems by Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish.
Next up was Ruth Lingford’s intelligent take on a poignant Philip Larkin poem on old age, titled ‘The Old Fools’. To add more gravitas to the subject, it was recited by the renowned Irish musician and political activist, Bob Geldof.
The Norwegian film ‘Love is the Law’ was the penultimate offering while the Swiss-German production ‘Cony’s Pony’, directed by Robert Pohle and Martin Hentze based on Gabriel Vetter’s poem was the last film of the evening.
Mr Winkler tried to show a couple of more shorts but couldn’t do so due to some technical problems.