My Barefoot Friend

Seong-Gyou Lee, South Korea, 2010, color, HDcam, 93'

Shalim is one of the 10,000 rickshaw drivers who pull their live cargo barefoot through the streets of Calcutta. At 50, the tawny Shalim is by far not the oldest: his colleague and friend Husein is already 75. South Korean director Seong-Gyou Lee befriended Salim and spent a long time following him, literally in his footsteps. Negotiating his way through the merciless traffic in the overcrowded and colorful Calcutta, where trains regurgitate new fortune-hunters on a daily basis. Shalim works hard for his family and his dream: to buy a motorized rickshaw, so that he can earn better money and ultimately purchase a house. But reality is tough, and sickness in his family ensures that his hard-earned money melts like snow under a warm sun. My Barefoot Friend reveals how the penniless rickshaw drivers, who also live under the threat of a law that would forbid their profession altogether, do their utmost to stay afloat in a merciless society. Their friendships, dreams and families are what keep them going. Besides being a portrait of Shalim and his colleagues, the film offers a delightful look at a major city that exerts an irresistible attraction on both Indians and foreigners, despite all its problems.

IDFA 2015 Line-Up Announced October 9, 2015 | The complete list of selected films for IDFA 2015, in alphabetical order, is now online. The full screening schedule will be available from November 5.
Looking at documentary sound October 6, 2015 | Sound in the documentary will be the central theme of the Sounds Real program. IDFA has invited five international sound designers to choose two documentaries with exceptional sound design: one of their own, and one by a colleague.
Opening film: A Family Affair by Tom Fassaert September 22, 2015 | The 28th edition of IDFA will open with A Family Affair by Dutch director Tom Fassaert, an exploration of the director's own delicate family history.


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