CMS Vatavaran organized a screening of documentary films on the theme of environment. We find the honest observation of life through this medium expanding our horizons on various topics. Hence we attend documentary screenings whenever possible. In this series we recently watched the National Award winning documentary “I Cannot Give You My Forest”.
Documentaries do not get theatre releases in India. The audience therefore is oblivious to the good work that happens in this area. Film Festivals are therefore one of the few platforms where we get to watch some documentaries. The recently held Habitat Film Festival screened the documentary THE MAN WHO DWARFED THE MOUNTAINS. This is based on Chandi Prasad Bhatt, a pioneer of the Chipko Movement.
“My Own Man” charts the path of transformation of the director David Sampliner to a more “manly man”. His journey is humorous but at times touching and confronting.The manner in which Sampliner reveals his insecurities to the whole world is a humbling experience. Add with it an interesting script; interviews with friends and family and a short duration – one has a beautiful documentary. “My Own Man” is one such work and among the best of the documentaries that we see at India Habitat Centre.
The Inner Eye is a documentary by Satyajit Ray on the artist Benode Behari Mukherjee. Benode Bihari was partially blind since birth. He lost his vision completely in mid life. This did not stop him from pursing art – sketches – paintings – murals – sculptures. In a span of 20 minutes, Ray has explored the “inner eye” of the artist that kept him going.
Katha Loknath / Retold by Loknath is a film by Rajula Shah about the flow of art from one form to another (sculptor – storytelling – film). The film is a great combination of abstract – fantasy and real life that takes us back to our childhood days.
Self image is often a function of the idea of that perfect size that we instil from the world around us. Almost everyone aspires to be slim and others waste no time to sit in judgment on people who are not. Saba Rahman has explored this notion in the documentary The F word. She has displayed enormous maturity by not passing a judgment on the issue and has left it to the audience to draw their own conclusions.
‘Timbaktu’, a documentary on experimentation on organic farming in a village in Andhra Pradesh, once again brought to the front another instance of all the amazing things people around us are doing. As a result of the organic farming techniques in Timbaktu, the livelihood of the people have improved and farmer suicides have come down.
Rangbhoomi – Kamal Swaroop in collaboration with Films division of India has made a documentary on the Benaras stint of Dadasaheb Phalke. This documentary is a most insincere exercise – either a result of the director’s whims or some tacky work aiming the film awards.
This documentary is based on a dilapidated cinema hall – Kumar Talkies in Kalpi, a small town near Jhansi. It deals with lack of audience for cinema in this small town where people has very limited source of income and television being free entertainment has taken over,
All good things come to an end and so is Filmbooth – First Cut series. (I heard they are just taking a break. I hope they really mean it. I loved Filmbooth First Cut screenings of short films. Hope to see them back with a collection of some great short films real soon)
The selection of movies for their last edition of First Cut was a mixed bag. As one of the organizers said – It had something for everybody.