KL This Week: 28th International Film Festival of Kerala Begins; 175 Movies to be Screened
Image credit: Prakash R
NewsClick brings you a round-up of the important developments from the state in the past week, including the demise of Kanam Rajendran, the state secretary of the Communist Party of India (CPI) after a brief illness, the commencement of the 28th edition of the International Film Festival of Kerala (IFFK), launch of the ‘Museum of Moon,’ ahead of the Global Science Festival of Kerala (GSFK), death of a farmer in a tiger attack, and the protest by scheme workers demanding minimum wages.
POLITICAL LEADERS MOURN KANAM RAJENDRAM
The sudden demise of Kanam Rajendran, 73, due to a heart attack while under treatment after amputation of a leg due to diabetes-related complications has shocked the political circle in Kerala. The veteran leader of the CPI was serving his third term as the secretary of the Kerala unit. He died in the afternoon of December 8 in a hospital in Ernakulam.
The last rites are expected to be performed at his residence in Kottayam after being airlifted to the CPI state committee office, P S Memorial in Thiruvananthapuram, for the people to pay homage.
Rajendran, born in Kottayam district, was elected to the state Assembly in 1982 and 1987, was elected to the party secretariat before turning 30, and had served as the state office bearer of All India Students Federation (AISF), All India Youth Federation (AIYF), and All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC).
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan condoled the death of Kanam, as he is fondly referred to in political circles and said that the Left Democratic Front (LDF) has lost a pillar who played a significant role in strengthening the left unity.
D Raja, the national general secretary of the CPI, Vijayan, ministers of the LDF government, and senior CPI leaders including MP Binoy Biswom and Panniyan Raveendran paid their respects to Kanam in the hospital. Leaders from the Congress Party including Ramesh Chennithala, who was elected to the state Assembly in 1982 along with Kanam, and leader of the opposition V D Satheesan mourned his death.
The Nava Kerala Sadas, the public outreach program of the government of Kerala was cancelled on December 9.
IFFK TO SCREEN PACKAGE OF ANTI-WAR FILMS
Veteran actor Nana Patekar inaugurated the 28th edition of the IFFK in Thiruvananthapuram on December 8. The festival will come to a close on December 15, after screening 175 movies from 81 different countries.
With a strong political statement, the package of anti-war films is named ‘Decolonising the Mind.’ The festival will also have an open forum to discuss and criticise the movies screened. On the inaugural day, a lifetime achievement award was presented to Polish filmmaker, Krzysztof Zanussi, known for his anti-communist stand.
Goodbye Julia directed by Mohamed Kardofani, a Sudanese filmmaker, was the opening film of the festival. Films from diverse backgrounds are being screened and categorised under different heads, including country focus – Cuba, Homage, Indian Cinema Now, International Competition, Malayalam Cinema Today, Masterminds, and Restored Classics, among others.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan opened the festival through a recorded video message since Cabinet ministers are travelling across the state for a public outreach programme.
‘MUSEUM OF MOON’ AHEAD OF GSFK
Around one lakh people gathered at the Kanakakunnu Palace in Thiruvananthapuram on December 5, to witness the ‘Museum of Moon,’ a prelude to the Global Science Festival Kerala (GSFK) scheduled between January 15 and February 15, 2024. The exhibition included photographs of the Moon.
The model for the Museum was designed by British artist, Luke Jerram, which stands about the height of a three-story building with a diameter of 23 meters. The visitors enjoyed the 360-degree vision of the moon, designed with a ratio of 1 cm: 5 Km. The image taken by NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter is being used by Luke to print the surface.
The GSFK, one of the thematically curated and largest science exhibitions in Asia, will be held in the Life Sciences Park with a variety of installations. The primary attractions include a 720-degree walk-in of the universe, a 360-degree viewable model of a cell, a walk-in exploration of the brain, an immersive experience of war, the effect of climate change, and life-sized replicas of essential landmarks of history among others.
FARMER KILLED IN TIGER ATTACK
A farmer, Prajeesh from Bathery in Wayanad district who went missing in the afternoon of December 9, was found dead later in the evening. As per reports, some parts of the body were missing as a result of the tiger attack.
Prajeesh went close to the forest area to collect fodder for his cattle but did not return home for hours.
SCHEME WORKERS PROTEST
As part of the agitational programmes, scheme workers, including ASHA, Anganwadi, and Midday Meal workers, staged a march to the Income Tax office in Kozhikode district on December 5. Organised by the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU), the workers are demanding recognition of scheme workers as government employees, ensuring a minimum wage of Rs 28,000 per month, and social welfare measures.
Scheme workers marching to the Income Tax office in Kozhikode. Picture courtesy: CITU
The workers have been calling on the Union government to reduce the workload, extend maternity benefits, and improve pensions for the scheme workers.
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