Film Division’s Film Club
Although the film clubs culture is a recent phenomenon in our country, the pace at which these clubs are mushrooming across the subcontinent, gives us a reason to smile. So when we heard that after a successful screening of the legendary filmmaker, Mani Kaul’s films in Mumbai and the capital by the Films Division they had decided to set up a film club in Mumbai, we literally jumped right out of our seats!
Held once a week, every Saturday, the film club will be a platform for screening alternate, independent cinema, not essentially restricted to documentaries, but all subgenres. And here’s the best part, the programmes will include films from FD’s precious archives, screening some of the most priceless films created in Indian cinematic history.
This week’s schedule features two classics – Ashim Ahluwalia’s National Award winning debut feature, John & Jane (his recent film, Miss Lovely was selected and screened in the prestigious Un Certain Regard section at Cannes Film Festival, 2012) and I Am Twenty, directed by SNS Sastry. The curatorial note elaborates, ‘The two iconic films are about the youth of a nation, one made while the nation was young and seen as being idealistic and the other after it turned fifty and despairing. Both use young people as a metaphor for the nation and national identity. One deals with a nation’s contradictions while still holding on to hope, while the other brings the contradictions-turned-schizophrenia disturbingly in your face.’
Both the films will be screened in their original 35mm format. Here’s a bit about the films…
John & Jane
Dir: Ashim Ahluwalia
Future East Film, 35mm, Colour, 83 min, 2005
In vast, fluorescent rooms, thousands of ambitious young Indians talk to people in remote places in America – Kentucky, California or Idaho. Bridging continents by telephone, they pitch products and soothe frayed consumer nerves. This is the world of offshore call centres. What is it like to transport yourself to a remote land you’ve never even seen? How does it feel to live so far outside your own body?
The film follows six characters and their personal journeys in an entirely original and fitting cinematic language, to express the eerie dislocation of virtual work. The lives it depicts are real, but the film’s approach gives those lives the scope of speculative fiction.
The film won a National Award, was screened at the Toronto International Film Festival and had a theatrical release in the US.
I Am Twenty
Dir: SNS Sastry
Films Division, 35mm, B/W, 20 min, 1967
Twenty years after India’s Independence, the filmmaker travels all over the country and interviews its youth, those born in 1947. What does Independence mean to them? What are their dreams? How do they see themselves and the young nation that they symbolize? The answers are a mix of idealism, irony, sarcasm, dismay, hope and optimism. SNS Sastry’s celebrated film is as relevant today as it was then.
The film club opens its doors at RR Theatre, Films Division, Peddar Road, Mumbai on 14th July at 4pm._