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Bangladesh's achievement at Cannes not less significant

The curtain of the 77th edition of the most prestigious 'Cannes Film Festival' is coming down on Saturday (May 25) night. The event is held for 12 days in May every year in the city of Cannes in the southeastern region of France on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea. Directors, producers, actors from different countries of the world participated in this festival. Bangladeshi-origin Irish model and actress Maksuda Akhter Prioty has been participating at Cannes events regularly for the past few years. This year, she is spending busy time there like other years. In the midst of this busyness, Maria Salam, the news editor of Views Bangladesh, managed to speak with this model over the phone.

Maria Salam: The Cannes festival has always held a special significance for you. This season is different for personal reasons. What are you thinking?

Prioty: As you know, I won the title in the Top Model competition organized by Integrity Magazine at the 74th edition of Cannes. But before that, I have been a regular in the event. Apart from being a model, I am a member of the Irish Television and Film Academy. The festival is a festive ground for young and old performers, producers, and artists from different countries of the world. It is a great platform to build network with your profession or interest. That is why the Cannes Festival is important to me. Yes, this season is very special to me for personal reasons. I am expecting for the third time and I think I'm the only pregnant artist on the show this year. Many people find this very surprising. Attending such an event while being pregnant is seen as an example by many, with many offering personal greetings.

Maria Salam: You came here as an Irish model and actress. But I know you are proud to identify yourself as a Bangladeshi. As a Bangladeshi, how do you evaluate the artists of your motherland? Or how others evaluate them?

Prioty: First of all, the Cannes Film Festival is an event where no one is judged on the basis of identity or nationality. It is a public event. Here, everyone is seen as an artist. In that case, no one judges anyone for being Irish or Bengali. Yes, those who will be victorious here, must be looked upon with admiration. Besides, it is not a matter of being discriminated against or despised as a country, nation, or individual. No one sees it that way here.

And as a Bangladeshi or Bengali, I am very proud as our achievement in this event is not less significant. Film critic, essayist and journalist Bidhan Rebeiro walked on the red carpet as a jury for the first time in the history of Bangladesh at the 75th Cannes Film Festival. Bangladeshi film critic Ahmed Mujtaba Jamal served as a critic for Fipresci in 2002, 2005 and 2009. This year, Bangladeshi film critic and screenwriter Sadia Khalid Reeti has been invited as the Jury of Fipresci. She also performed this duty in 2019.

And talking about movies, Khan Ataur Rahman's Urdu film 'Jago Hua Savera' (1958) made us proud at Cannes. Filmed in Bangladesh, the film was screened in the Cannes Classics category in 2016. Next, Tareque Masud's 'Matir Maina' from Bangladesh won the Best Film award at Fipresci in Cannes in 2002. Rehana Maryam Noor, directed by Abdullah Mohammad Saad, made it to the AA Sartre Riga category in 2021, the first film to win a place in a competition in the category at Cannes. The trailer of the movie 'Mujib: The Making of a Nation' was screened at the Indian Pavilion at the Marché du film in 2022 at Cannes Film Festival. These are our achievements.

Maria Salam: Many Bangladeshi stars or artists are coming to Cannes personally outside of movies. How do you see the matter?

Prioty: I see it positively. Cannes is not an event where you only have to bring a film to join it. It is a meeting place, a platform for film and art lovers from around the world. You can communicate with any group or person here, exchange your thoughts and also play a role as a brand promoter of your country. You can highlight your language, clothes, and living customs on the international stage here. It is not very easy to come here without a film or an individual. Apart from getting visa, staying in France is very expensive. I applaud those who have come here on their own initiative from that place.

Maria Salam: The festival has come to an end. How was your experience and achievement this time?

Prioty: In that sense, I have only covered one-fifth of the entire arrangement. About two thousand movies are submitted here every year. From there, 56 feature films and 14 short films were selected for official selection. Basically, these 70 movies are shown at the main event of Cannes. Outside of the movie screening, there are many side events, discussions, and various shows. It is almost impossible for one person to enjoy all these things. But from what I have seen, I think my personal knowledge has been enriched. I have come to Cannes, this is a great achievement for me. I am proud, happy and satisfied at the same time.

Cannes Film Festival at a Glance

1. Writer Philippe Erlanger gave the idea of organizing the first 'International Film Festival' in 1938. However, the first season started in 1946 instead of 1039 due to World War II.
2. Since 2002, it has been known as the Cannes Film Festival.
3. The top prize 'Palme d'Or' or 'Golden Palm' was first awarded in 1955. The award was modernized with 24-carat gold and crystal embedded in it in 1997. Currently, its price is around Tk26 lakh.
4. 5000 films were screened and 200 films competed for the Palme d'Or.
5. 89 countries are represented at Cannes.

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