Section: The World, Abused I

The World, Abused 1



‘Bhaile’ is an attempt to illustrate the occurrence of tourism-related child sex abuse in India. It speaks to a cross-section of Goa to comprehensively discuss the issues involved. Its driving force is the innocence of the child.

The film opens with the chaos and abandon associated with taking a vacation in Goa. In the midst of this madness, children write letters to Santa Claus for their Christmas gifts and a group of middle aged foreign tourists arrive. We follow them to the beaches and their usual hangouts. And just then Santa replies about his impending trip, money sent for Christmas and expensive bicycles. This ain’t good ol’ Santa riding on his sleigh with a bagful of goodies, but some ‘fatherly’ men writing to their ‘sons’. In the course of their stay, the film explores the various issues involved by speaking with representatives from the police, the State, the Church, the NGO’s, the judiciary, beachshack owners and some children.

Director: Ajay Noronha
India, 2001, 40 min
Director’s Contact:

Blanco es mi Pelo, Negra es mi Piel

My Hair is Black, My Skin is Black

‘Blanco es mi Pelo, Negra es mi Piel’ captures four moments of the life of a 95-year-old woman, Maria de los Reyes Castillo, Rayita. She was the granddaughter of a slave woman, but her mother was free. She was born during the years of the Republic. It’s the story of her life, with all the willingness and strength of a woman in a time of racism and difficulties.

Director: Marina Ochoa
Cuba, 1997, 20 min
Source: ICAIC
Source’s Contact:

Born At Home

‘Born at Home’ observes indigenous birth practices in many parts of India. The film negotiates ethnography, medical anthropology and gender concerns. The dai (midwife) is almost always a low-caste, poor woman. Her methods are holistic, conceiving of child birth not as pathology but continuation of organic life. Dais handle 50% of the births in India. Yet the dai is the lowest rung of the hierarchies of caste, class and gender. Her inherited skills are continually devalued by the mainstream. The film poses a critical question- why does the state not recognise the almost one million traditional practitioners in the country? Gender and class issues are juxtaposed with images of the postpartum massage, the ritual bath and the miracle of birth. Mind-body, earth-cosmos become one unified whole when, negotiating the nether world of pain and labour, a new life thrusts it way up into the sun. The dai’s hands are experienced and empathetic as she guides the process.

Director: Sameera Jain
India, 2000, 60 min
Producer: Sublunar Films
Director’s Contact:

Brother Outsider

Before Martin Luther King, Jr. became a national figure in the USA, Bayard Rustin routinely put his life on the line as a crusader for racial justice. Rustin’s commitment to pacifism and his visionary advocacy of Gandhian nonviolence captured King’s imagination in the 1950s. In 1963, with more than 20 years of organizing experience behind him, Rustin organized the historic March on Washington D.C. Rustin was openly gay during the fiercely homophobic era of the 1940s and ’50s; as a result, he was frequently shunned by the very civil rights movement he helped create. ‘Brother Outsider: The Life Of Bayard Rustin’ chronicles Rustin’s complex life story, a tale of race, prejudice, and idealism at the heart of 20th-century America. Though he had to overcome the stereotypes associated with being an illegitimate son, an African American, a gay man and a one-time member of the Communist Party, Rustin eventually became a public figure and respected political insider.

Director: Bennett Singer & Nancy Kates
USA, 2003, 86 min
Producer: Question Why Films
Director’s Contact:

Gujarat: A Laboratory of Hindu Rashtra

The film focuses on the post-violence atmosphere of Godhra, which engulfed Gujarat in March 2002 when more than 2000 Muslims lost their lives. ‘Gujarat’ examines the role of RSS and VHP in the present political scenario. It shows that Gujarat is a fertile ground for divisive ideologies, skewered economic growth, high unemployment, despair of working people, poor standards of development and caste discrimination.

It traces the rise of groups and strata who – with generous support from non-resident Indians from abroad – have been promoting Hindutatva. The film also talks to the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and some of its important mahants. It explores their ideas of democracy, Hindu Rashtra, the constitution and the status of the Dalits. At the same time, it explores divergent perspectives on the issues from the trade unionists, human rights lawyers and ordinary citizens. Today Gujarat, tomorrow India. That’s the warning the film gives on the growth of increasingly fascist tendencies, if they are not addressed now.

Director: Suma Josson
India, 2003, 45 min
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Resilient Rhythms

Everyday at least one person is killed just because he is a Dalit, 3 Dalit women are raped, 9 Dalits are grievously hurt in caste related violence, countless Dalit workers are employed as manual scavengers and millions are trapped in bondage. ‘Resilient Rhythms’ captures the life and struggles of Dalits continuing resistance to discrimination and oppression, their aspirations and hopes. For them, independent India has given either nothing or very little.

The documentary is in digital format with English subtitles, shot in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Bihar, Delhi and West Bengal.

Director: Gopal Menon
India, 2002, 66 min
Producer: Other Media Communications
Director’s Contact:

The Men in the Tree

In early 1993, Lalit Vachani and the Wide Eye Film team completed a documentary film, The Boy in the Branch, for channel 4 Television, U.K. Set at the headquarters of the RSS in Nagpur, the film was about the indoctrination of young Hindu boys by a branch of the RSS, the foremost Hindu Fundamentalist organization in India. Eight years later, Vachani returned to Nagpur to meet the characters from his earlier film. At one level, The Men In The Tree is a documentary in the form of a personal revisit where a film maker returns to the issues, the locations and the subjects of an earlier film. At another level, ‘The Men In The Tree’ is a political documentary on the RSS and Hindu fundamentalism. It is about some of the individuals, the stories and the myths, the buildings and the branches that enable the growth of RSS and its Hindutva ideology.

Director: Lalit Vachani
India, 2002, 98 min
Producer: Wide Eye Film
Director’s Contact:

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