A Festival of Contemporary Political Films
Magic Lantern Foundation & India International Centre
Venue: India International Centre
40 Max Mueller Marg, New Delhi 110003
Films at Outdoor Night Screening
25 February 2010
19:45 to 21:45
Dir: Manjira Datta
25 min, 1994, India/USA
In India the fate of a woman is often determined by the size of the dowry she brings to her marital home. A woman is considered worthless if she does not bear a male child. Female foeticide is a common practice in India. A daughter is viewed as a socio-economic burden as she leaves her parental home with capital (dowry). She seldom has the option to return to her parental home if she is tortured in her marital home. Society prefers a woman’s death to her divorce. The film unpeels layers of the many-headed evil patriarchy in Indian society as it explores the factors that lead to the death of Lali Devi, an educated and capable woman and her two girls.
Dir: Saba Dewan
84 min, 2008, India
The Sonpur cattle fair in rural Bihar comes alive every evening when more than fifty girls take to the stage and dance for an all male audience. A barbed wire fence separates the performers from the spectators. Originally part of the nautanki, a popular folk theatre genre of north India, the dance of the female performer today has become a replay of Bombay films and music videos that span rural and metropolitan landscape. It is a performance charged with sexual energy. The girls dance, make eye contact, beckon, gesticulate and even abuse a highly responsive all male audience. What meanings related to contemporary construction and practice of gender, sexuality, labour and popular culture can we read in the dance of the female performer?
26 February 2010
19:45 to 21:45
The Last Rites
Dir: Yasmine Kabir
17 min, 2008, Bangladesh
‘The Last Rites’ is an allegorical portrayal of the agony of hard labour. Unlike a traditional narrative, the film relies on its images to tell its story. The silent film depicts the ship breaking yards of Chittagong, Bangladesh – a final destination for ships that are too old to ply the oceans any longer. Every year, hundreds of ships are sent to yards in Bangladesh. And every year, thousands of people keep coming in search of jobs in these yards. Risking their lives to save themselves from hunger, they breathe in asbestos dust and toxic waste. What emerges in a greater context is the tragedy of the human condition.
In Search of the Riyal
Dir: Kesang Tseten
83 min, 2009, Nepal
Nepal immigrants leave for the Gulf in order to earn some riyals (Iranian currency). With a quarter of the family members gone to work as cheap laborers, Nepal seems to have pretty much lost its self-sufficiency. Most of the families are supported by money sent by a young son or husband from abroad to a society without any other means of income. It is difficult to discern where this problem begins and ends.
27 February 2010
19:45 to 21:30
Dir: Supriyo Sen
14 min, 2009, India, Pakistan, Germany
Every evening, border crossing along the 3323 km frontier between India and Pakistan becomes the site of an extraordinary event. Border guards on both sides orchestrate a parade to lower the flags. Thousands of people gather to witness the ritual and afterwards the masses move as close to the gate as possible to greet their former neighbors. The film looks through the eyes of three children who sell DVDs of the parade to the onlookers. With a dream of crossing the border they remain quite unmoved by all the “patriotic” madness around them.
Sound of Tibet
Dir: Kim Joon-Nyeon
80 min, 2010, India
This film is about the life story of a simple nomad boy born on the roof of the world, Tibet, at the most tragic juncture of its history. A wandering Tibetan yogi predicted the Chinese invasion and advised the family to flee Tibet. The family was able to escape into exile in India, the great land of Buddha and of Freedom.
Nawang Khechog the nomad boy becomes a monk and hermit meditator under the guidance of His Holiness, the Dalai Lama. He later emerges as an international recording and touring musician and composer, while continuing to work for the Tibetan freedom struggle.
One of the critical themes of the film is how Tibet and Tibetans have been able to, with the help of India and many nations and peoples around the world, not only preserve their culture but also keep their freedom struggle alive under the non-violent and inspiring leadership of his Holiness, the Dalai Lama.