Wednesday, December 5, 2012

14th Madurai Film Festival: Magic Lantern Movies

14th Madurai International Documentary 

and Short Film Festival 2012

6,7,8,9 Dec 2012


1) A Doctor to Defend: The Binayak Sen Story
Director: Minnie Vaid, English (subtitled), 46 min, 2011, India

A chilling story of justice being denied, the fi lm interweaves the
journey of Dr. Binayak Sen from the infl uences that shaped the
path he was to take later to the choices that seem almost inevitable.
Capturing his fi rm conviction that dialogue and not violence is the
only way out, the fi lm is of archival value to human rights activists
and to all people with a conscience worldwide as it profi les
the life and views of a ‘prisoner of conscience’ whose voice is now

2) Bom - aka One Day Ahead of Democracy
Director: Amlan Datta, English (subtitled), 117 min, 2011, India

Malana, a remote village in the Himalayas, isolated from outside
civilization for thousands of years has been fostering a divine existence
in harmony with nature and a unique model of democracy of
consensus. The hidden treasure of their governance has been trust
and they have been selecting not electing! They have also been
producing some of the best quality hashish.
In the seventies came some white men who taught them how to
rub the crème and drew them into hashish trade. Malana crème
became world famous. The rule of our modern day democracy has
to be established, so Malana becomes a part of Indian electorate. In
name of development the curse of modern world starts destroying
their traditional culture and social practices. A united community
gets divided and goes to vote for the Indian general elections.

3) The Musalman, Preservation of a Dream
Director: Ishani K. Dutta, English (subtitled), 11 min, 2011, India

‘The Musalman’ is about the hand written Urdu daily published
from Chennai, Tamil Nadu. Catering to a very small Urdu reading
population, The Musalman is possibly the only hand written daily
newspaper in the world. The fi lm shows the history of the newspaper,
and the passion that drives the people who run it. Established
in 1927 by Chenab Syed Asmadullah Sahib, the newspaper was
taken over by his son Syed Faisullah. It is presently run by Faisullah’s
son, Syed Arifullah, making it a heritage that the family
owns. The fi lm also converses with the calligraphers, who have
dedicated their lives to The Musalman because of their love for
Urdu and calligraphy.

4) The Immoral Daughters in the Land of Honour
(Izzatnagari ki Asabhya Betian)
Director: Nakul Singh Sawhney, English (subtitled), 93 min, 2011, India

The fi lm traverses the violent landscape of ‘honour’ crimes, gender
and caste discrimination in Haryana to tell the tale of a unique
resistance. ‘Asabhaya Betiyaan’ (Immoral Daughters) from the Jat
community are taking on the powerful, male and upper caste dominated
community courts or the ‘Khap Panchayats’. The fi lm follows
few such women, urban and rural, who continue to struggle
for dignity and voice in the face of extreme and severe threats. The
powers of the ‘Khaps’, drawn from communitarian blood links,
are absolute and negate all norms of social justice and renders the
administration and the police ineffective or worse, at the service of
the ‘Khaps’. Inter-cutting extensive and rare footage of the ‘Khaps’
with chilling stories from the relatives of their victims and their
resistance, the fi lm inverses victimhood into that of agency.

5) Burma VJ: Reporting from a Closed Country
Director: Anders Østergaard, English (subtitled), 86 min, 2008, Denmark

Armed with small handycams, undercover Video Journalists in
Burma keep up the fl ow of news from their closed country. Risking
torture and life in jail, the Burma VJs stop at nothing to make
their reportage. Their material is smuggled out of the country
and broadcast back into Burma via satellite and offered as free
usage for international media. The whole world has witnessed
single event clips made by the VJs, but for the very fi rst time, their
individual images have been carefully put together and now tell a
much bigger story.

As Foreign TV crews are suddenly banned from the country, it is
left to Joshua (27), and his crew to keep the revolution alive on TV
screens across the world. With Joshua as the psychological lens, the
Burmese condition is made tangible to a global audience. The fi lm
offers a unique insight into high-risk journalism and dissidence in
a police state, while at the same time providing documentation of
the historical and dramatic days of September 2007, when the Buddhist
monks began marching.

No comments: