Featured in the Vol 2 – Issue 2 – June 2014

A Fable of Epistolary Love: The Lunch Box
Darius Cooper

Artists Cinema:
“Video art speaks resonantly of history, politics and the self.”
Interview with Riyas Komu

C .S Venkiteswaran

Documenting Film History : An American in Madras
Ranjani Krishnakumar

Jerry, Elaine, George, Kramer = Daffy >desthpicable=??
Nina Sabnani

Single Shot Cinema : a different approach to film language
Leonard Retel Helmrich and Anton Retel Helmrich

Film Reviews:

Crossing Bridges:
Subha Das Mollick

Ankhon Dekhi: Homage to the Teacher
Avijit Mukul Kishore

My Sacred Glass Bowl: The Crystal Gaze of Priya Thuvassery
Neelima Mathur

Book Reviews

Film Series by Harper Collins Reviewed by Georgekutty A.L

Amar Akbar Anthony
Author: Sidharth Bhatia

Mughal-e-Azam
Author: Anil Zankar

Pakeezah
Author: Meghnad Desai

Festival Report

2nd Dok Leipzig Lake Festival, Naukuchaital
Sanjay R. Wadhwa

67th Cannes Film Festival
Saibal Chatterjee

8th SIGNS Film Festival, Kochi
Darshana Sreedhar

Advertisement Collaborations in this Issue

NEO Film School
Asking We Walk
Alpavirama South Asian Short & Documentary Film Festival
i-lead, Kolkata
Mumbai Film Festival, MAMI
Kathmandu International Mountain Film Festival
Dharamshala International Film Festival
Char / Bilal: DVD’s of documentary films by Sourav Sarangi
To Let The World In: Dvd of the documentary film by Avijit Mukul Kishore
American Film Market
Green Gifts Bungalow, Bandra: Film Location
9th Voice from the Waters International Traveling Film Festival

Excerpts

“Video art speaks resonantly of history, politics and the self.”

C. S. Venkiteswaran in conversation with Riyas Komu, a multi-media artist and Co-founder of the Kochi Biennale Foundation. This discussion was recently published in the SiGNS Film Festival catalogue and came about from curation of the Artists’ Cinema package at this Film Festival held in Kochi.

Is there anything aesthetically specific about video art, something that defines it?

One of the biggest advantages of ‘video art’ is that it renders an interactive quality to the medium. The aesthetics of cinema was followed by video art with the idea of taking the moving image out of the black box to the white cube. Technology, as Walter Benjamin said, becomes uniquely visible in birth and obsolescence and what we see in the aesthetics of artists’ cinema is the dramatic conjunction of both the inception and desuetude of the technologies of moving image. Video art is a child of the 1970s and is a genre that emerged from the advancement of technology. Its aesthetics oscillates between the concealed and the confessional. It can speak resonantly of history, politics and the self. More than anything it is experiential, facilitated by the form itself like allowing the possibilities of multiple projections. One of the finest recent examples is Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait by Douglas Gordon and Philippe Parreno. The artists’ used 26 cameras to shoot the legendary footballer in action providing multiple facets of the player in different frames shown simultaneously on different screens.

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Documenting Film History : An American in Madras
Ranjani Krishnakumar

Early Tamil film history—before forming its alliance the Dravidian movement—is documented rather sparsely. Where there is documentation, it is often anecdotal; popular film professionals publishing their personal experience as historical evidence. Academic writers too have found themselves discovering contradictory data, much of it deduced from peripheral sources and incidents.

Recreating such an era of Tamil cinema is the documentary film An American in Madras—about Ellis R Dungan, a Tamil filmmaker of the 1930s to the 50s, directed by Karan Bali, a Mumbai-based filmmaker and writer. The film draws from Dungan’s uniqueness as an American (“Vellaikaaran” – Whiteman) to have contributed in the formative years of the industry, introducing styles and technology from Hollywood, that were revered in South India.

I borrow from the scholarly writings of Stephen Hughes and others to outline the beginnings of cinema in Madras itself to have been a European preoccupation. I aim to present the context for the early Tamil cinema as one that was produced and directed often by non-Tamils, seemingly without any friction. Shoulder to shoulder with several “outsiders” making films in the state, I review An American in Madras as a documentation of film history, post which I raise questions about such a method of film historiography.

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Crossing Bridges:
Subha Das Mollick

Sange Dorjee Thongdok, a native of Arunachal Pradesh, drifted into SRFTI about ten years back, without knowing much about the aesthetics, technology or the commerce of film making. He was in a mood to explore the various career possibilities open to him and cinema lured him with adventure and uncertainty. Three years of living with cinema at SRFTI took him to a point of no return and transformed Sange’s casual flirtation with cinema into an avowed passion. What resulted is Crossing Bridges, the first film in the language Sherdukpen, a local dialect of Arunachal Pradesh. Crossing Bridges was honoured with the National Award in 2014 as the best feature film from Arunachal Pradesh.

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Festival Report
67th Cannes Film Festival

Saibal Chatterjee

From the octogenarian Jean-Luc Godard to the twenty-something Xavier Dolan, from a grizzled French agent provocateur to a bright, young Quebecois individualist, the main competition line-up of the 67th Cannes Film Festival straddled an impressively wide generational spectrum. Dolan’s stylistically unusual Mommy, a disquieting yet eventually uplifting portrait of a mother raising an ADHD-afflicted son filmed in a 1:1 aspect ratio, shared the Jury Prize with Godard’s off-kilter and irreverent Goodbye to Language, a piece of cinematic whimsy shot in 3D. It was as if the old was emphatically making its presence felt even as it was making way for the new. It was difficult to tell which side of the divide was flashier.

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