India

AHIMSA – DIE STÄRKE VON GEWALTFREIHEIT

The organisation Ekta Parishad supports the poor Indian population of the Adivasi in their struggle for land and water. Tightening the villages’ communities ist the first step towards reaching their goals through non-violent resistance. The organisation’s charismatic founder P.V. Rajagopal and his coworkers hold a seminary for young villagers to help them build solidarity within their communities.

 

Switzerland/India 2012
Regie: Karl Saurer
65 min, DCP, OmU

AJANTRIK – DER VAGABUND

Die eigenwillige, oft schelmische Liebesgeschichte zwischen einem Taxifahrer und seinem Auto: Bimal, der in seinem veralteten, über alles geliebten Gefährt Jaggadal die indische Provinz durchquert, wird auf seinen Wegen nebenbei Zeuge eines wirtschaftlichen Umbruchs. Während die Natur den Bulldozern weichen muss, ist er damit beschäftigt, seinen Wagen trotz allseitigen Spotts in Schuss zu halten, und investiert seine letzten Ersparnisse in das Objekt, das er für beseelt hält. Erst als sich Bimal in eine Frau verliebt, gibt Jaggadal den Geist auf. Als Exeget von C.G. Jung konstruiert Ghatak von AJANTRIK an alle seine Filme nach dessen Archetypen: In Jaggadal sieht er das Abbild der Mutter und des alten Indiens. Die Hupe, die klingt wie die Hörner des Oraon-Stamms, dessen ekstatischen Tanzriten Bimal in einer elektrisierenden Sequenz beiwohnt, wird nach Jaggadals Verschrottung von einem kleinen Jungen gefunden, der sie prompt betätigt: Ghataks Filme enden bevorzugt mit Tod und Leben – Ende und Neubeginn im selben Bild. „Der einzelne Mensch stirbt, aber die Menschheit entwickelt sich weiter.” read more

CHERIA LOKAVUM VALAYA MANUSHYANUM (Small word & big person)

«It was a wonderful and great opportunity for me to work with Aravindan (1935-1992) as his cinematographer for nearly all his films. As a film author, his passion for ‹Life› through his own understanding of colours (his paintings, cartoons) and Music (his singings) is a strong arrangement. Through Small World and Big Person I choose to ‹see› him for myself, starting his love towards his family and friends.» Shaji N. Karun

India 2002
Regie: Shaji N. Karun
30 min, 35mm, Farbe, OF mit engl. UT
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Ek Adhuri Kahani

Schaupatz: eine Zuckerfabrik, in deren Nachbarschaft Arbeiter der Grundbedürfnisse beraubt werden und die Bauern betrügen. Ein junger Mann entflieht dem städtischen Leben und beginnt dort als Beamter zu arbeiten. Er lernt den Ort und die Leute kennen und das Vertrauen zueinander wächst. Das Jahr der Depression zieht sich, die Krisen werden immer schlimmer und verbreiten sich unaufhaltsam über die ganze Welt. Die Arbeiter der Fabrik und die Bauern der Nachbarschaft vereinigen sich und machen sich bereit zum Kampf. Der junge Beamte begeht Verrat und die Rebellen werden zum Schweigen gebracht. read more

JOHN AND JANE

The film follows the stories of six “call agents” who answer American 1-800 numbers in a Bombay call center.

India 2005
Regie: Ashim Ahluwalia
83 min, 35 mm, Farbe, OF mit dt. UT
Festival: Berlinale 06

JUKTI, TAKKO AAR GAPPO – VERNUNFT, DEBATTE UND EINE ERZÄHLUNG

Der schonungsloseste Epitaph der Filmgeschichte, selbstverfasst: Ritwik Ghatak, stets gepeinigt von Identitätszweifeln, die er im Alkohol ertränkte, beginnt den Film, der sein letzter werden sollte, noch vor TITASH EKTI NADIR NAAM. Wie dort werden die Dreharbeiten immer wieder unterbrochen, wegen akut auftretender Tuberkulose und Alkoholdelirium. Ghatak selbst spielt einen alkoholkranken Intellektuellen, den seine Frau nach einem (autobiographischen) Wortwechsel verlässt, und der mit zwei Bürgerkriegsflüchtlingen aus Bangladesh eine Odyssee durchs zerfallene Westbengalen unternimmt. Halb Narr, halb Weiser, trifft er, zumeist betrunken, auf ehemalige Mitstreiter, die der Dekadenz anheimgefallen sind, wohnt einem traditionellen Chau-Tanz bei und findet nach einer langen, fruchtlosen Diskussion mit jungen Widerstandskämpfern durch eine zufällige Kugel den Tod, wobei er seine letzte Flasche ins Kameraobjektiv verschüttet. Inhaltlich wie stilistisch ein Film der Ratlosigkeit, die aber mit solcher Leidenschaft vorgetragen wird, dass sie zielstrebig scheint: „Das Universum brennt. Ich brenne.” read more

Kaagaz ke phool

The film tells, in flashback, the story of Suresh Sinha (Guru Dutt), a famous film director. His marriage to Bina (Veena) is on the rocks because her wealthy family sees filmmaking as a job lacking in social status. He is also denied access to his daughter Pammi (Baby Naaz), who is sent to a private boarding school in Dehradun. In the 2002 Sight & Sound critics and directors‘ poll, Kaagaz Ke Phool was ranked at #160 among the greatest films of all time.

IN 1959
Regie: Guru Dutt
148 min, Schwarzweiß, 35mm, OmdU
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KABHI KHUSHI KABHIE GHAM (SOMETIMES HAPPY, SOMETIMES SAD)

Yashovardhan Raichand and his wife Nandini have raised their sons Rahul and, showering them with great love and affection. Yash has tried to pass on the values that he cherishes and holds in great regard. Nandini on the other hand has different dreams and aspirations for her sons. Her own dreams of love which she would like her sons to experience – both her sons, but especially Rahul  as she shares a special bond with him. An unusual bond, a bond that will help her live through the torturous years when he leaves the Raichand house. A bond that has been cultivated with love – love for a child who was not meant to be. A child who brought laughter and happiness into her empty world. A child who was adopted. Rahul’s adoption was always a secret. But, ever since Rahul was told about it at the father who he holds with the highest regard and whom he would never disrespect or disobey. Who’s every word, every wish becomes an unwritten commandment for him – a commandment that he would never break, that he thought he would never break, but unfortunately does… Because Rahul falls in love. read more

KANNATHIL MUTHAMITTAL (A PECK ON THE CHEEK)

Amudha grew up in Tamil Nadu in India. She feels at ease and protected in her family. When she is nine years old she suddenly learns that she is an adopted child. She would prefer not to know anything about it, but is now determined to find out about her biological parents who, as members of the Tamil Tigers, disappeared during the turmoil of civil war in Sri Lanka. At first, Amudha’s adoptive parents try to dissuade her, but finally they agree to accompany her on this painful journey… Mani Ratnam is one of the few Indian film directors who have tried to enhance commercial musical cinema with politically and socially controversial topics. Whereas in previous films he portrayed the striving for independence in North India and especially the conflict between the Hindu and Muslim populations, in this film he devotes himself to his South Indian homeland. Two of his trademarks, i.e. to maximise the emotional intensity as well as the constant effort to achieve perfect photography form the background of the bloody struggle between the Tamil and Singhalese culture in Sri Lanka. read more

KARVAAN

Indien 1999
Regie: Pankaj Butalia
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KOMAL GANDHAR – E-MOLL

Ghataks zärtlich-kritischer Tribut an die „Indian People´s Theatre Association” (IPTA) – eine Erzählung von zwei rivalisierenden Theatergruppen, die für eine einzige stehen, so wie das geteilte Bengalen für Ghatak immer die Erinnerung an die Einheit heraufbeschwört. Das Wechselspiel von Trennung und Einheit ist das kennzeichnende Merkmal von Ghataks Kino: schmerzhafte Trennung von Ton und Bild, um durch außer-erzählerische Klänge (hier: Schüsse, Lieder, Sirenen) eine übergeordnete Einheit der Bedeutung herzustellen. Trennung von individueller, mythischer und sozialer Erzählung, die doch erst durch die Verbindung der Ebenen zur vibrierenden, vielschichtigen Einheit des zyklischen Weltbilds von Ghatak wird. Trennung Bengalens durch den Fluss Padma, die schon die erste Szene von KOMAL GANDHAR zu überwinden sucht. Auch der Titel handelt von dieser Überwindung: Er verdankt sich dem bengalischen Dichter und Philosophen Rabindranath Tagore, der in der Tonart E-Moll eine Metapher für die Ehe, die Wiedervereinigung sah. Am Ende von KOMAL GANDHAR gönnt sich Ghatak nach zahlreichen tragikomischen Intrigen und Auseinandersetzungen die Erfüllung dieser Hoffnung. read more

KUTTY SHRANK – SAILOR OF HEARTS

Three women come to a police station to identify a dead body. It is said to be Kutty Shrank, a boatman who lived a versatile life. All three women claim to be his loved one. Their memories of their time with him paint a picture of his multifaceted character and personality. The story is told in the style of magical realism. Thus a world of its own emerges in which reality and fiction seem to fuse.
 

India 2009
Regie: Shaji N. Karun
127 min, 35mm, Farbe, OF mit engl. UT

Kya Hua Is Shahar Ko ?

Communal violence between Hindus and Muslims in 1984 forms the starting point for this film, whose complexity lends it immense political force. The film‘s historical perspective is provided by a thorough commentary, which gives the camera‘s particular presence the necessary depth and complexity. The mechanisms of political power struggles, the dynamics among those that hold power, and the instrumentalisation of economic relations and urban poverty make for a striking analysis, uniquely anticipating the subsequent development of communalist conflicts and the politics of marginalisation. Berlinale 2013 read more

Millions Can Walk

Hundreds of thousands of Indian men and women – indigenous inhabitants and landless farmers – demand their right to existence by making a 400 kilometre protest march from Gwalior to Delhi. How can one fight for one’s rights without using violence? With such an important contemporary question, the film spreads far beyond the borders of India. It shows the multiple facets of this imposing protest march and focuses as well on the daily realities of these proud people.

Indien/ Schweiz 2014
Regie: Christoph Schaub, Kamal Musale
88 min, Farbe, DCP, OmdU
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Mohandas

Through a story that progresses with the interviews made by beautiful Meghna, MOHANDAS explores the question of identity loss: a man is lead to believe that he is no longer himself. With its musical sequences, this film goes back to the great tradition of Indian film, while detaching itself from it through the critical gaze it casts on the role of press within a society ruled by audience ratings and entertainment. At the same time, it sheds an unforgiving light on the plutocratic excesses of democracy. MOHANDAS thus depicts the helplessness of the individual face to the power of politics, economy, law and the media. read more

NAALU PENNUNGAL – FOUR WOMEN

Between 1940 and 1960, the period following India’s independence, the rather unenviable destinies of four women from Kerala take place: a married, childless woman, a young virgin forced by her father to join a man to take care of his household – and possibly more, a spinster confronted with the moral standards of a reactionary society and a prostitute who tries to change her life. All these stories are set in rural India and highlight the complexity of female hopes and dreams in a traditional and male-dominated society. read more

NINE EMOTIONS (Navarasa)

Thousands of gay people, eunuchs and transvestites from all over India gather at the Koovagom festival every year. All Mohinis-to-be symbolically marry a statue of Aravan, but after the statue of Aravan is beheaded, they break their bangles and become widows. Santosh Sivan successfully merges a straight narrative with the poetic layers of this ancient myth. The protagonist, thirteen-year-old Swetha, discovers her uncle Gautam’s secret life as transvestite.

India 2005
Regie: Santosh Sivan
97 min, 35 mm, Farbe, OF mit engl. UT
Festivals: Rotterdam 06, Pusan 05
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NIYAMGIRI YOU ARE STILL ALIVE

1971- The Atmosphere is tense with the possibility of a war between India and Pakistan. A mistaken call from a young boy trying desperately to reach his mother disrupts the peace and tranquillity of their home of Sati and Gopi Gujral, a couple in their fifties, leading a placid life. Sati is a part time music teacher in a school for Tibetan children run by the Tibetan government-in-exile and Gopi is a doctor in a government hospital. Their only son, Ashok is a pilot with the Indian Air Force, and calls home at an appointed time, unerringly every week. Ashok’s call itself gives Sati immense joy and its regularity brings her great comfort. The wrong calls keep coming. Each time, it is the same child’s  desperated voice. Sati Gujral finds herself a prisoner to her own mental demons. For Sati, there is the anguish of the news itself, besides her own inability to convey it to the right quarters. There is, too, the greater anguish of not getting Ashok’s call at the appointed hour. The two emotions trigger a frantic bid to try and trace down the ‘Gomati amma’ but it is met with little success. Sati Gujral’s worry deepens, along with her constant worry. The next call is curt and brief. “The child passed away. The funeral is tomorrow”….. read more

NIYAMGIRI YOU ARE STILL ALIVE

The Niyamgiri region in eastern India is a wooded mountain range where the people of Dongria Kondh live a traditional life. The mountains and especially Niyam Raja are sacred places. The mountains are of value to the British mine company Vedanta, too: they are supposed to be developed as winning district for bauxite, a mineral which is used for make-up and nuclear weapons. The Dongria Kondh have to agree to this plan officially. Suma Josson records the fight against the devastation of the unique landscape by an overly powerful company. read more

Oridathu

The time is the mid-fifties, when the Indian states were being reorganised. The place is a remote village in Kerala. There is a palpable hum of excitement as the village Panchayath, led by the Brahmin landlord, is determined to bring the benefits of electricity to this backward place. As the story unfolds, it introduces us to an array of characters in the village. Each character has its own story to tell, in self-contained episodes that are all interrelated.

IN 1986
Regie: G. Aravindan
112 min, Colour, 35mm, OmdU
Kamera: Shaji N. Karun
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