Osian's Cinefan 9th Festival of Asian & Arab Cinema opened in Delhi on Friday night (July 20) with the international premiere of Iran-Azerbaijan co-production Raami.

The feature debut of documentary filmmaker Babak Shirinsefat, the film follows a musician searching for his Armenian wife, who fled to Iran during the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan.

In contrast to Shirinsefat's sombre and occasionally harrowing film, the festival's opening ceremony featured a colourful performance of blues, rock music and magic tricks, orchestrated by veteran threatre director Roysten Abel.

One of India's more high-profile film festivals, Cinefan will this year screen 125 films from 45 Asian and Arab countries. Around 30 of these will screen in the three competition sections - the Asian & Arab Competition, Indian Competition and First Features Competition - and will also be eligible for Netpac and Fipresci awards.

This year's event also features a Focus on Japan, with a tribute to Kenji Mizoguchi andselections of samurai films and contemporary Japanese titles.

Other highlights include '1857: Hymns To Freedom', commemorating India's first war of independence against the British; 'Silhouettes', a section dedicated to stories about women, and 'Spotlight Filmcraft', focusing on cinematography, along with regular sections Frescoes, Indian Mosaic, Cross Cultural Encounters and In-tolerance.

This year's seminar programme will examine topics including the origins of cinema in Asia, Japanese and Arab cinema and independent filmmaking in South-East Asia, along with the fourth edition of the Talent Campus in collaboration with the Berlinale.

The festival will close on July 29 with the screening of Egyptian film Cut And Paste, directed by Hala Khalil.


Asian-Arab Competition:

A Few Days Later - dir: Niki Karimi (Iran)

Curiosity Kills The Cat - dir: Zhang Yibai (China)

Desert Dream - dir: Zhang Lu (Korea-France)

Falafel - dir: Michel Kammoun (Lebanon-France)

Foster Child - dir: Brillante Mendoza (Philippines)

Lonesome Trees - dir: Saeed Ebrahimifar (Iran)

Making Of - dir: Nouri Bouzid (Tunisia)

My Father My Lord - dir: David Volach (Israel)

Ploy - dir: Pen-ek Ratanaruang (Thailand)

Tender Is The Wolf - dir: Jilani Saadi (Tunisia)

The Secret - dir: Joko Anwar (Indonesia)

Indian Competition

Bhairavi - dir: Suhail Tatari (Hindi)

Footsteps - dir: Suman Ghosh (Bengali)

Frozen - dir: Shivajee Chandrabhushan (Hindi-Ladakhi)

Manorama Six Feet Under - dir: Navdeep Singh (Hindi)

Our Time - dir: Bappaditya Bandopadhyay (Bengali)

Paruthiveeran - dir: Ameer Sultan (Tamil)

Signature - dir: Ranjith (Malayalam)

The Imposter Who Wasn't - dir: Rajat Kapoor (Hindi)

Zero Zone - Arindam Mitra (Hindi)

First Features Competition

Crossing The Dust - dir: Shawkat Amin Korki (Iraq-Kurdistan-France)

Driving With My Wife's Lover - dir: Kim Tai-sik (Korea)

Fisherman's Daughter - dir: Salinda Perera (Sri Lanka)

She And He - dir: Elyes Baccar (Tunisia)

Strangers - dir: Anand Rai (India)

The End Of The Road - dir: Afsaneh Monadi (Iran)

The Heavenly Kings - dir: Daniel Wu (Hong Kong)

The Last Dining Table - dir: Roh Gyeong-Tae (Korea)

Wool 100% - dir: Mai Tominaga (Japan)

Woven Stories Of The Other - dir: Sherad Anthony Sanchez (Philippines)