A few years ago if someone mentioned Asian cinema then people recognised just two names

Akira Kurosawa and Satyajit Ray. However, currently Asian cinema boasts some of the best and most exciting talents in the world cinema.

With the arrival of the Chinese New Wave filmmakers in late 1980s, filmmakers like Chen Kaige and Zhang Yimou made an immediate impression on world cinema. Today Asian cinema has its own identity and hardly any major film festival is complete without a robust participation from Asia. Names like Abbas Kiarostami, Majid Majidi, Jafar Panahi, Wong Kar-Wai, Hou Hsiao Hsien are major attractions in the biggest of film festivals around the world. However, very few of us here in Nepal get an opportunity see these masterpieces.

Keeping this lack of opportunity in mind, the Kathmandu Film Society will be presenting the ‘Asian Panorama’ for the coming four months. The KFS will be screening several of the best Asian films that have helped make Asian cinema what it is today.

The Asian Panorama will kick off with the screening of Iranian director Jafar Panahi’s The White Balloon on January 22 at NTB at 5:00pm.

This film is said to be the most Bicycle Thief-like of Iranian films and concentrates less on realism than on finding beauty within naturalism.

Little Razieh longs to own the lovely goldfish that she has spotted in a shop window. After nagging her mother and getting her way, Razieh sets out for the shop. But along the way she gets distracted, and a little later she realises that she has dropped the money entrusted to her by her mother. Most of the film’s action — in that disarming, neo-realist, minimalist mode — is devoted to Razieh’s excruciating attempts to find and then secure the elusive legal tender.