India

Ivan Ayr – Soni (2018)

Synopsis
Soni, a young policewoman in Delhi, and her superintendent, Kalpana, have collectively taken on a growing crisis of violent crimes against women. However, their alliance suffers a major setback when Soni is transferred out for alleged misconduct on duty. Read More »

Rahul Jain – Machines (2016) (HD)

Quote:
Director Rahul Jain presents an intimate, observantly portrayal of the rhythm of life and work in a gigantic textile factory in Gujarat, India. Moving through the corridors and bowels of the enormous and disorientating structure, the camera takes the viewer on a journey to a place of dehumanising physical labor and intense hardship, provoking cause for thought about persistent pre-industrial working conditions and the huge divide between first world and developing countries. Since the 1960s the area of Sachin in western India has undergone unprecedented, unregulated industrialisation, exemplified in its numerous textile factories. Read More »

Anand Patwardhan – Jang Aur Aman AKA War & Peace (2002)

A marvellous documentary, one of the best Indian films of the last decade and the director’s greatest work. Banned by the national censor.

Documentary filmmaker Anand Patwardhan’s controversial War and Peace (2001) could well have been titled War and Peace: Or How I Learned to Forget Gandhi and Worship the Bomb, for the major theme that runs through the film is the disjunction that exists between the past and the present and a nation’s collective (and selective) cultural amnesia with respect to their own past. Shot in four countries – India, Pakistan, Japan and the USA – and over a period of four years following the 5 nuclear tests done by India in 1998, Patwardhan’s film was slammed by Pakistan for being anti-Pakistani and by India for being anti-Indian, while the film’s barrel was pointed elsewhere. Read More »

Shivendra Singh Dungarpur – Celluloid Man (2012)

Quote:
A short excerpt from the booklet essay by Mark Cousins.

India’s is partially an oral culture, many of the great stories are preserved in people’s memories, but Celluloid Man shows that, in the movie world, Nair wanted to change that. He wanted to make a physical memory bank, a depository of film prints, a place you had to cool and dust. It’s the physicality of his story that is striking: the long taxi rides to the relatives of Phalke, the country’s first feature director, to see if they have any rolls of film in their home; the bang on the door at 3am because a filmmaker must see Pasolini’s The Gospel According to Matthew there and then; the stripping of miles of 35mm negatives to harvest their silver to make jewellery. It’s a pre-digital epic. Read More »

Mani Kaul – Satah Se Uthata Aadmi aka Arising From The Surface (1980)

Quote:
Kaul’s film addresses the writings of Gajanan Madhav Muktibodh (1917-79), one of the main representatives of the Nai Kavita (New Poetry) movement in Hindi. Muktibodh also wrote several short stories, one of which provides the film with its title, and critical essays. The film integrates episodes from Muktibodh’s writings with material from other source, including a reinvented neo-realism derived from Muktibodh’s literary settings. The narrative is constructed around 3 characters. Ramesh (Gopi) iis one who speaks and enacts Muktibodh’s writings, functioning as the first-person voice of the text; his two friends, , Madhav (Jha) and Keshav (Raina), are Ramesh’s antagonists and interlocuters esp. in the debates about modernity. Kaul gradually minimizes the fictional settings until, in the remarkably shot sequences of the factory, the audience is directly confronted with the written text itself. Read More »

Govindan Aravindan – Esthappan AKA Stephen (1980)

After Kanchana Seeta (1977), the mythical dimension of Aravindan’s cinema acquires a quasi-real, quasi-mythical character in Esthappan (1980). Esthappan is a mysterious figure, allegedly immortal, in a Christian fishing village in Kerala. An enigmatic figure defying spatiotemporality, like many others in Aravindan’s films, Esthappan resides at the periphery of society. Although a more earthly version of Kummatty (the subject of Aravindan’s previous film), all manner of virtues and magical powers are ascribed to the Christ-like worker of miracles (including printing his own money and drinking whisky without getting drunk). Read More »

Hrishikesh Mukherjee – Mili (1975)

Synopsis:
Shekhar Dayal has moved into a new neighborhood, and is just not pleased with the new surroundings. He resents the noise children make while playing, as he prefers quiet and solitude. His reclusion is shattered when his neighbor, Mili, comes into his life. At first he hates the intrusion, but then grows to be fond, and then ultimately fall in love with her. When the time comes for him to propose to this sunny, cheerful, and positive young lady, he is told that she has only a few more months to live. Read More »