Sunday, March 22, 2009
[screenings/discussion]Life on Venus- Documentaries on Women
“So were gonna take the beginning of this song
And do it easy
Then were gonna do the finish rough
This is the way we do proud mary”
- Tina Turner, Proud Mary
‘At the risk of seeming ridiculous, let me say that the true revolutionary is guided by a great feeling of love. It is impossible to think of a genuine revolutionary lacking this quality.’
- Che Guevara
The woman’s story is that of the individual, the family, of society, of nations. The tale speaks of rebellion and resistance, of self-assertion. The woman’s story is one of uncommon courage and grace under fire. But above all, what should be heeded, is that the story of woman is the story of compassion, love and forgiveness. The woman’s story is a song- wild, electric, angry yet benevolent. The woman’s story is the spirit of revolution.
Bangalore Film Society in collaboration with Breakthrough TV- Human Rights in Frames is proud to present ‘Life on Venus’, a selection of the most acclaimed and award-winning documentary films on women from across the globe.
Friday 27th March 2009
Morality TV and Loving Jehad - A Thrilling Tale(31mins/India) Dir: Paromita Vohra
In winter 2005 in the town of Meerut, India, police officers, mostly women, swooped down on lovers in a park and began to beat them up. Along with them they took photographers and news cameramen with a promise of an exclusive sting operation. As images of the operation played again and again on every news channel as 'breaking news', Meerut saw some of the couples run away out of fear and shame and serial protests for and against the event, which also made the news for some days. The film looks at a town's complex dynamics – the fear of love, the constant scrutiny and control of women's mobility and sexuality, a history of communal violence, caste and feudal equations. Assuming the tone of pulp fiction it examines the relishing accounts of true crime magazines like 'Manohar Kahaniyan' (The Thrilling Tales) to the double morality of pulp detective fiction to the tabloid news on Indian TV.
4.30pm- 5.00pm Tea Break
Leila Khaled Hijacker (59mins/Sweden) Dir: Lina Makboul
In 1969 Palestinian Leila Khaled made history by becoming the first woman to hijack an airplane. As a Palestinian child growing up in Sweden, filmmaker Lina Makboul admired Khaled for her bold actions; as an adult, she began asking complex questions about the legacy created by her childhood hero. This fascinating documentary is at once a portrait of Khaled, an exploration of the filmmaker’s own understanding of her Palestinian identity, and a complicated examination of the nebulous dichotomy between "terrorist" and "freedom fighter."
Sari Soldiers (93mins/Nepal/USA) Dir: Julie Bridgham
Filmed over three years during the most historic and pivotal time in Nepal's modern history, The Sari Soldiers is an extraordinary story of six women's courageous efforts to shape Nepal's future in the midst of an escalating civil war against Maoist insurgents, and the King's crackdown on civil liberties. When Devi, mother of a 15-year-old girl, witnesses her niece being tortured and murdered by the Royal Nepal Army, she speaks publicly about the atrocity. The army abducts her daughter in retaliation, and Devi embarks on a three-year struggle to uncover her daughter's fate and see justice done. The Sari Soldiers follows her and intimately delves into the extraordinary journey of these five other brave women on opposing sides of the conflict, through the democratic revolution that reshapes the country's future.
Saturday 28th March 2009
Time: 5.00 pm
The Women’s Kingdom (22mins/China/US) Dir: Xiaoli Zhou
Keepers of one of the last matriarchal societies in the world, Mosuo women in a remote area of southwest China live beyond the strictures of mainstream Chinese culture – enjoying great freedoms and carrying heavy responsibilities. Beautifully shot and featuring intimate interviews, this short documentary offers a rare glimpse into a society virtually unheard of 10 years ago and now often misrepresented in the media. Mosuo women control their own finances and do not marry or live with partners; they practice what they call "walking marriage." A man may be invited into a woman’s hut to spend a "sweet night," but must leave by daybreak. While tourism has brought wealth and 21st century conveniences to this remote area, it has also introduced difficult challenges to the Mosuo culture – from pollution in the lake, to the establishment of brothels, to mainstream ideas about women, beauty and family. This finely wrought film is a sensitive portrayal of extraordinary women struggling to hold on to their extraordinary society.
In the Tall Grass (65mins/Rwanda) Dir: J. Coll Matcalfe
In the Tall Grass tells the story of Rwanda’s search for redemption after genocide as the country sits down to reckon with the horror in a network of informal, community courts called gacaca. The films follows a genocide survivor named Joanita Mukarusanga through this historic process as she confronts the neighbor she says killed her family and the community that sanctioned their murders. That neighbor, Anastase Butera, admits to witnessing the murders, but says he never killed anyone during the genocide’s hundred days of terror. With unprecedented access, In the Tall Grass explores universal themes of justice in post-conflict societies and the challenges countries like Rwanda face in attempting the transition from a violent past to peaceful future. Through the experiences of Joanita and Anastase, the film illustrate how the genocide and the ideology the propelled it continue to play a dangerous and destabilizing role in the country that if left unaddressed, threaten to one day plunge Rwanda back into chaos. Though justice is the ingredient needed to help Rwanda secure its future, few know whether it can be achieved through gacaca in communities where so many killers still reside.
Behind Forgotten Eyes (South Korea/Japan/USA) Dir: Anthony Gilmore
There are moments in history that are heartbreaking that the entire world prefers to forget. There are things that take place that are so painful, those involved choose to remain silent. Whilst Korea groaned under the harsh colonial rule of Imperial Japan, the Japanese coerced, tricked and forced the women of Korea into a brutal and systematic form of sexual slavery on an unimaginable scale. During WWII the Japanese Imperial Army forcefully used over 200,000 Korean women as sexual slaves. Behind Forgotten Eyes examines the enduring legacy of this horrifying chapter in East Asian history through interviews with Korean victims and Japanese soldiers as well as academics, social activists and professionals. It is an excellent, unconventional, challenging, shocking, appalling film, using archival footage as well as animation.
Sunday 29th March 2009
No More Tears Sister (76mins/Canada/SriLanka) Dir: Helene Klodawsky
A story of love, revolution, and betrayal, No More Tears Sister explores the price of truth in times of war. Set during the violent ethnic conflict that has enveloped Sri Lanka over decades, the documentary recreates the courageous and vibrant life of renowned human rights activist, Dr. Rajani Thiranagama. Mother, anatomy professor, and symbol of hope, Rajani was assassinated at the age of thirty-five. Stunningly photographed, using rare archival footage, intimate correspondence and poetic recreations, the story of Rajani and her family delves into rarely explored themes - revolutionary women and their dangerous pursuit of justice.
Sancharram- The Journey (107min/India) Dir: Ligy Pullapally
Set in the lush, rural Kerala, The Journey begins with the childhood friendship between beautiful, outgoing Delilah, a Christian girl, and the sober, idealistic, and inwardly focused Kiran, whose Nair family settles next door. They quickly become inseparable, and in time Kiran feels attracted to Delilah, but suppresses it. She finds a Bergerac-like outlet by writing love letters to Delilah for Rajan, a local boy pursuing her. When Delilah learns the truth about the letters, she responds – to Kiran. As neighbors begin to talk,Delilah's family flies into panic mode with arranged marriage plans; meanwhile Kiran fights back, leaving Delilah in the middle of a tug of war. The director achieves in this film a piquancy that deepens a sensitively drawn story.
Venue: Ashirvad, 30, St. Mark's Road cross, Op. State Bank of India