Documentaries Worth Watching (Part-1)

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

As the time passes towards completion of Grad School, the documentaries screened in class increasingly turn out to be fantastic piece of art. We're lucky enough to receive a platform where such form of visual language is used to communicate with us- reciting matters of worldly affair and business. It's only imperative to give back to the universe in which ever way possible. Going to start a series of listings of documentaries/films etc that are worth catching up after making all the effort, you can.

Safina Uberoi's A Good Man was screened in class day before yesterday. Not a single soul in class who didn't cry at some point. Won't give any spoilers except that you need to have a strong head to be able to digest material like this on day to day basis. A Good Man is an extraordinary story of a man- his tribulations in day to day life as he manages to juggle drought, a wife suffering from paralysis and opening of a brothel. This unusual journey of the protagonist gives away several traits of his characters and at the same time hide more than what he wants to communicate. There were instances that gave away the shades of  grey to the life of Chris that made my classmates express their concern about his behaviour. What they missed out in the whole schema of things is that no one wants to be pitied upon. I could go on talking about the  movie all night long but I'd rather have people watch it to be sensitized enough to know how long term disabilities are to be treated. Me? I didn't cry. Perhaps, to respect Chris' ideology of treating Rachel the way he did. Not to look upon with pity but instead respect the person for the entity he/she is. 

The second in series of good documentaries being screened in college has to be My Mother India by the same filmmaker. Employing oral history techniques with biography of a displaced mother, Uberoi makes her debut in the field of documentary film making. The video reflects pathos of a white woman, at the same time her husband and children coping up with claiming Sikh identity much later in their life. Safeena's work lays great stress on family, kinship in relation to the society, as both her documentaries are reflective of the same. For me, the cross cutting of calendar images (kitsch art collected by her father over the last few decades) with the voiceovers stood out. The Uberoi-Dhammija duo did extremely well for the first production. 

If it comes to family and kinship, the final video project for Manak Matiyani, Kuber Sharma and Komita was one of the finest examples of mumblecore production. It's got several layers and while you unfold each one of them, you realize you're a part of the same set-up. All About Our Mothers is a rather explanatory title in itself. However, it is much more than that. It covers facets of family dynamics that is deep-rooted in Indian tradition. In a way, it juxtaposes modernity with traditional ideology. The fact that it's produced in the same uncontrolled circumstances that I have an access to, is mindblowing. The clip is a chopped down version from the original 40 minute long documentary.

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