A Festival of Contemporary Political Films
Magic Lantern Foundation & India International Centre
Venue: India International Centre
40 Max Mueller Marg, New Delhi 110003
25, 26 and 27 February 2010
The creative act is not performed by the artist alone; the spectator brings the work in contact with the external world by deciphering and interpreting its inner qualifications and thus adds his contribution to the creative act. This becomes even more obvious when posterity gives a final verdict and sometimes rehabilitates forgotten artists.
(Session on the Creative Act; Convention of the American Federation of Arts, Houston, Texas, April 1957.)
[It is as though] poetry is for Israel and the Documentary is for Palestine.
-Jean Luc Godard
Marcel Duchamp celebrates the agency of the audience while Jean Luc Godard points to the key factor that guides the common understanding of the documentary: the documentary must not be poetic. Persistence Resistance resonates Duchamp’s vision and challenges the common understanding that Godard point towards.
And in extending the positions of these two pioneering thinkers Persistence Resistance also encounters another common understanding, that of political films. The festival consciously uses the term ‘political films’ and presents a wide range of genre of the documentary, from experimental to creative to narrative to hybrid and claims for itself the space of the ‘political.’ For Art is embedded in human struggles and the public cultures are necessarily also political acts.
Persistence Resistance 2010 examines the notion of boundaries by bringing together films that lie on borderlines, constantly negotiating between the centre and the periphery. The films shift between questions of territorial, social, historical and personal identities, observing capturing, reflecting and discovering sometimes that which is concealed behind fixed definitions and paradigms. The films position themselves on the threshold of what is and what lies beyond. This year the festival will present 89 films that engage with the aesthetics of cinema and politics of our everyday lives.
In the ‘showing’ of cinema as well, Persistence Resistance tries to move beyond confines of classical ‘viewing spaces’ alone, thus inviting the audience to participate in the world of images in a different way. By providing multiple sites of viewing, the festival will attempt to create fluid spaces of interacting with images, extending cinema to the ‘outside’ in an attempt to move beyond its formal precincts of viewing. In a sense, cinema viewing and watching will step out of its prescribed domains in an effort to imprint, involve the vast landscape that traditionally lies outside of it. Along with screenings in the auditorium, films will also be shown in simulated video parlors, in a multi hub video library and night screenings will be done in the out-doors as well through out the festival.
This year we will present new films that have been added to our collection since the 2nd edition of the festival along with two invited packages of films. And the festival will look back to look forward. We bring films of pioneers of the Indian independent documentary along with films of students from the Film and Television Institute of India and the National Institute of Design. Memory and the future go hand in hand at Persistence Resistance 2010.
At every edition we see our audience grow and Persistence Resistance 2010, as a film festival resonates with a gesture not only towards the dynamic aesthetics of the documentary but also towards the audience. Finally, Persistence Resistance is a space of celebration of the documentary, its aesthetics and engagements, and the filmmaker. It is a platform where we welcome filmmakers and film audiences to inhabit and share a common space in time, in an effort to collectively create and redefine public cultures.
(IIC Main Auditorium, 9:30 to 7:00 pm)
Persistence Resistance 2010 brings together films that explore the thematic of boundaries – social, material, abstract, ephemeral boundaries that the political documentary tries to tackle through its cinematic representation. Films that capture and transgress their themes at the same time. These films lurk on the frontiers of meanings, unsettling the fixed, redefining the borders. The subjects are varied ranging from geographical boundaries to barriers of caste, religion, gender and self. The narrative forms play with varied devices of story telling and representation allowing multiple perspectives to evolve, creating various points of entry at the same time.
(Conference Room 1, 1st Floor, 10:00 am to 7:00 pm)
Conversations on documentary practice
Using their work as a starting point, five filmmakers and one cinematographer will interact with academics and filmmakers to unravel the various strands of the documentary form in South Asia, as it exists today. These free-ranging conversations will traverse different terrains – the place and role of the documentary, the filmmakers’ position, individual practice and aesthetics.
25th February: Kesang Tseten with Samina Mishra; followed by Manjira Datta with Brinda Bose.
26th February: Bishakha Datta with Veena Hariharan; followed by Saba Dewan with Sabina Gadihoke.
27th February: Avijit Mukul Kishore with Shankhajeet De; followed by Supriyo Sen with Ira Bhaskar.
(9:30 am to 9:30 pm at Gandhi King Plaza, all three days)
This year’s festival will see retrospectives of six filmmakers: Deepa Dhanraj, Manjira Datta, Saba Dewan, Krishnendu Bose, Sanjay Barnela and Supriyo Sen. These retrospectives are an attempt to locate these individual practices within the larger documentary tradition. How have these filmmakers engaged with the documentary form over a period of time? How have their stylistic and thematic explorations evolved? At the same time, these retrospectives are a biography of the documentary tradition itself. By bringing together thirty-two films made between 1986 and 2009, they offer us a unique opportunity to see how the nature of filmmaking practice has, in itself, evolved over the years.
Installations, along with films presented as installations will create an altogether different viewing experience where the viewer has the choice to stop and look, or walk away, to ‘see’ in transit. The installations evoke a tactile, sensory experience of viewing images where the viewer, rather than a passive receiver becomes key in reinterpreting the varied representational forms. All the installations are image based in one way or the other and can be seen as extensions/diversions of a film-making practice. Their presence in a film festival becomes an important point of dialogue about the semiotics of different visual forms employed in carving out narratives by film practitioners.
10:00 am to 9:30 pm at Gandhi King Plaza
Ruchika Negi, Subhashim Goswami, Amit Mahanti,
Frame Works Research & Media Collective
‘Disconnect’ is an audio-video-text installation that explores life around a bus- the lifeline of many villages in rural Meghalaya. The installation tries to encapsulate the associations and sense of attachment that people have for their bus. ‘Disconnect’ has evolved from Zariyein, a community art project that used images and conversations to explore a diversity of lived experiences. Between 2006-08, Zariyein was carried out in three distinct contexts – Khirki (New Delhi), East Khasi Hills (Meghalaya) and Tehri Garhwal (Uttarakhand).
(Zariyein was supported by Khoj International Artists’ Association, New Delhi)
7:00 pm to 9:30 pm at Fountain
The socio-economic transformation in Calcutta and the effects on the landscape are of concern, raising important questions about the entire issue of “development” and the adverse effects of such “development”, not limited to labour alone, but also on the city’s social structure, environment and ecology. ‘Dialogue Remains’ is a part of a project, The Changing Industrial Landscape of Calcutta, to study and document the destructive development taking place in and around the city. It follows the transformation of a productive, half-a-century old Jay Engineering Works into the South City Project, comprising three 35-storey and one 28-storey tower, a shopping mall, school, multiplex, club and much more, and the resistance of Shambhu Prasad Singh, an ex-worker with Jay – an example of how such “development” can be challenged by a brave stand taken by an individual.
Films on demand with viewing facility
9:30 am to 9:30 pm, on all three days of the festival