13th Madurai Film Festival
Under Construction Films: Films distributed by Magic Lantern Foundation, New Delhi
1) 17 AUGUST
Directed by: ALEXANDER GUTMAN; English (subtitled), 64 min, 2009, Russia
The first prison in Russia for those sentenced to life terms. A single cell. “Prisoner Boris Bezotechestvo. Life sentence. Article 102. Triple murder.” Communing with a God who is indifferent to his fate. He prays, but is NOT A BELIEVER. His words filled the air of the cell. He talks and listens to himself. The space within the cell consumes him. His world is four walls and the view from the window. The prison physically thrusts the prisoner into TIME. A long succession of days and nights allotted to him, after which comes “hell” or “heaven”.
2) DHARAVI: SLUM FOR SALE
Directed by: LUTZ KONERMANN; English (subtitled), 79 min, 2009, Switzerland
At the heart of the continuously growing metropolis of Mumbai lies Dharavi, the largest slum in India. Close to a million immigrants from all over the country live and work here, contributing a vital share to the city's economy. This former marshland has now turned into prime real estate as Mukesh Mehta, urban planner and consultant to the government’s Dharavi Redevelopment Project, attempts to usher in a new twist in Mumbai's slum rehabilitation policies. In the wake of this impending destruction, the film questions the very nature and benefit of development, as it follows the struggle between tradition and modernity. It is the fight of the underprivileged to defend their homes and livelihoods against mounting pressures of globalisation.
3) FIGURES OF THOUGHT
Directed by: ARUN KHOPKAR; English, 33 min, 1990, India
A film about three of India’s leading visual artists, Bhupen Khakar, Nalini Malani and Vivan Sundaram. The film takes, as its point of departure, a glass mural on which all three artists were working, then zeros in on each of them. It links them to their physical and mental worlds through cinematic devices like associative sounds, variable light and montage. Compositionally, the visuals aim to match with the styles of each artist, as well as the larger narrative traditions of India.
4) THE 4TH REVOLUTION Energy Autonomy
Directed by: CARL-A. FECHNER; English (subtitled), 83 min, 2010, Germany
Possibly the most inspirational, solutions-based environmental film out there, the documentary travels the world to examine best practices on four continents - that put much of the rest of the world to shame. We get quality time with impressive people doing good work that we can all learn from. They join others in making a convincing case that, in less than 30 years, the world could derive 100 percent of its energy from renewable sources. Changing our reliance on fossil fuels could not only slow climate change, but also promote sustainable economic development and social justice around the globe.
5) WORKERS - ROUTES OF THE GLOBALIZATION
Directed by: TOMMASO D’ELIA; English (subtitled), 52 min, 2010, Italy
Safety is our motto. This is the sign towering over the entrance to the port of Alang. With its 127 shipyards, Alang in Gujarat is the world’s largest ship breaking port. Here, every day, around 80,000 workers strip down the metal carcasses of massive vessels. Often using their bare hands or rudimentary tools. Always without the support of medical services. Asbestos, dioxins, exhausted oils: many of the ships arriving here contain toxic or radioactive substances. Accidents are a daily occurrence, with about 300 deaths a year. Our journey among Indian workers begins here and continues in the cotton and sugarcane fields of Gujarat, among the peasants of Bengal forced by violence and murder to sell their lands to Western multinationals. The workers voices are intertwined with the ones of trade union leaders and authoritative intellectuals.