Paul Cox feels anyone can get Oscars by spending money

PANAJI: His love for India has not diminished despite his not having come here for some years. And his energy does not appear to have diminished even when he is in his seventies.

But there is one thing that Australian filmmaker Paul Cox is very troubled about. He is unable to understand the fascination that everyone including Indian filmmakers have with the Academy awards (Oscars). He says anyone with money can get these awards, and therefore has no respect for them.

Talking about Indian cinema at press meet at the ongoing International Film Festival of India, he said he did not feel India has had a bigger filmmaker than Satyajit Ray. Ray was fantastic, a splendid human being, Paul added.

And he was very clear that he prefers Bollywood to Hollywood. He wondered why Indians are always comparing Bollywood with Hollywood. He said Indian cinema should not try to find similarities with films from America.

"We should be ashamed most films are pathetic. I would rather read a book than see a bad film", says this award-winning Dutch born director who did not have any film here but has stopped over on his way to the International Film Festival of Kerala in Thiruvananthapuram where he is in the Jury.

Referring to the abysmal content of some films, Paul deplored cinema‘s exploitation of sex and violence, “If incest occurs in society, should that be an excuse to show it in graphic detail? Must filmmakers pander to base desires? Everyone is making commercial films to please others."

"I love India, it is a home away from home for me and when I nearly died from cancer, I longed for India. Kindness matters above all else in life. But today, I feel some Indians have lost their capacity for kindness.”

Krzysztof Kies‘lowski, the Polish film director and screenwriter best known internationally for The Decalogue (1989), was the last great filmmaker who touched the true potential of cinema. "But today, we (filmmakers) have lost their humanity,” he added.

He prefaced his critique by a humorous anecdote of how a print of his film had been stolen from the projection box at a Delhi filmfest and the next day copies flooded the grey market.

His other great loves are the Italian composer Vivaldi, the 17th century Dutch painter Vermeer and his (Cox‘s) wife Cathy, whom he met while both were being treated for liver cancer in hospital where he even wrote a book. Needless to add, signature traits of Cox’s work are a deep humanism and an affinity with the arts, as evinced in Vincent: The Life and Death of Vincent van Gogh and The Diaries of Vaslav Nijinsky.

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