March 28, 2012
EXPERIMENTA India: A Festival of Experimental Cinema from India
Co-Sponsored by the University of Chicago's South Asia Language and Area Center, The Committee on Southern Asian Studies & the Film Studies Center
WHEN: Wednesday March 28th
WHERE: Doc Films, Max Palevsky Cinema, Ida Noyes Hall, 1212 E. 59th Street, Chicago, IL
What are possible cinematic entry points to addressing the context of experimental filmmaking in India?
From experiments in animation, found footage and stylised montage in the late 60's and early 70's to the most recent innovations in experimental narrative and documentary, this selection of films and videos offer a peek into the aesthetic and socio political complexities of experimental filmmaking in India.
Curated by Shai Heredia who will be present to introduce the programs
Opening Remarks by Professor Rochona Majumdar, Associate Professor, Department of South Asian Languages and Civilizations
PROGRAM 1 (34mins)
1. 'And I Make Short Films' S.N.S.Sastry 1968 B&W sound 16 mins 35mm on dvd
An impressionistic portrayal of short film making by a short film maker. The film explores the process, ideas and context of documentary filmmaking in India at the time - art or documentation of reality. The views expressed in the film are sometimes bitter, often humorous, at times satirical but seldom complimentary.
2. 'Trip' Pramod Pati 1970 B&W sound 4 mins 35mm on dvd
A film on Bombay, which uses pixilation to depict the transitoriness of daily life in an urban context. This spectacular film with its abstract soundtrack of tweaked city sounds is the quintessential urban Indian experimental film.
3. 'Abid' Pramod Pati 1972 colour sound 5 mins 35mm on dvd
"Unlike a cartoon film, which is a rapidly moving series of photographed drawings, in pixilation, a moving object is shot frame by frame, and then through clever editing made to appear in motion. By its nature, this movement is agile, energetic and unpredictable just like the pop art movement." [Pramod Pati]
4. 'Claxplosion' Pramod Pati India 1968 B&W sound 2mins 35mm on dvd
Using pixilation and electronic music, this is an experimental family planning film
5. 'Explorer' Pramod Pati India 1968 B&W sound 7 mins 35mm on dvd
Pati attempts to portray a country caught between a number of opposing and diverging tendencies - between war and celebration, rock-and-roll and Bhajan, science and religion - in all its richness, convolutedness and madness.
PROGRAM 2 (70mins)
1. 'Jan Villa' Natasha Mendonca, India 2011 16mm on dvd colour & b&w sound 20mins
After the monsoon floods of 2005 that submerged Bombay, the filmmaker returns to her city to examine the personal impact of the devastating event. The result is Jan Villa, a tapestry of images that studies the space of a post-colonial metropolis but in a way that deeply implicates the personal. The destruction wreaked by the floods becomes a telling and a dismantling of other devastations and the sanctuaries of family and home. In its structure, Jan Villa is a vortex, drawing to its center all that surrounds it.
2. 'City Beyond' Shreyasi Kar India 2011 DV colour sound 10mins
City Beyond is a film that speculates about the lives led by the inhabitants of a submerged civilisation. The superstructure has been recently discovered in the crevices of the ocean floor. The film moves through the submerged landscape, gathering glimpses of life, times and the end of the civilisation.
3. 'Bare' Santana Issar, India 2006 colour sound 11mins
A poignant short in which the filmmaker uses home-movie footage and recorded telephone conversations to reach out to her alcoholic father.
4. 'There is Something In the Air' Iram Ghufran, India 2011 DV colour sound 29mins
There is Something In the Air is a call from the periphery of sanity. A series of dream narratives, and accounts of spiritual possession as experienced by women 'petitioners' at the shrine of a Sufi saint in north India. Drama unfolds via dreams, and appearances of djinns and disappearances of women. The shrine becomes a space of expressions of longing and transgression. The film invites the viewer to a fantastical world, where fear and desire is experienced through dreams and 'afflictions of air'. The shrine is a space where performance becomes the only rule of engagement, and one can begin to think of the possibilities that 'insanity' produces.