Tuesday, October 29, 2019

21st Madurai Film Festival 2019 : Filmmaker in Focus - K R Manoj

21st Madurai International Documentary and Short Film Festival 2019

6 - 10 Dec, multiple venues - Madurai

Organised by MARUPAKKAM

Filmmaker in Focus - K R Manoj

K R Manoj is an independent filmmaker and screenwriter, whose passion for cinema evolved with his engagements with the Film Society Movement in Kerala. He is the former editor of the film studies journal Drisyathalam and one of the founder curators of the digital video festival SiGNS.

His films include Agni, 16 MM: Memories, Movement and a Machine, A Pestering Journey, Kanyaka Talkies, Kesari and Work of Fire.

Winner of many awards, including the National Film Award, International Critics Prize, Kerala State Film Award, Vasudha Award, IDPA Award for Excellence and the Delhi Chief Minister's Environmental Conservation Award, Manoj is the Co-Founder of the independent production house, Tropical Cinema.

Films to be shown :

1) 16 mm - memories, movement and a machine
Dir: K R Manoj; 40 min; 2007

'16mm...' tries to trace back the trajectory of film society movement in Keralam and its relationship with a machine - 16mm film projector. Now abandoned as an obsolete technology, 16mm projection was the soul and source of the movement at the time and still burrs on in the minds of a generation of cineastes. A journey through the images that try to capture the enigma of the cultural interface produced by a post independent cultural movement.

2) A Pestering Journey
Dir : K R Manoj; 66 min; 2011

‘A Pestering Journey’ unravels the many interwoven layers of culture and agriculture and foregrounds the logic of green revolution.

Taking a pestering turn, the journey blurs the boundaries of nature and culture, of self and other, of life and death and many other comfortable binaries we inhabit. It tries to ask how much regard for life a culture should have to ponder over the question, what a pest is.

In an atypical move, it challenges and changes the idioms of pesticide and genocide and reveals the claims over knowledge and expertise, which pushes a pesticide like Endosulfan to a dubious position between poison and medicine.

3) Kesari
Dir: K R Manoj; 77 min; 2016

'Kesari' tries to map the life and work of Kesari Balakrishna Pillai (1889 -1960), who has contributed significantly in shaping Modern Kerala. The work contextualizes the intellectual life of Kesari Balakrishna Pillai and critically engages with his radical interventions which are placed itself against both colonialism and narrow renditions of nationalism. The documentary follows the temporal and spatial axis provided by Kesari’s large corpus of writing and foregrounds its potential to displace modern linear time. 'Kesari' provides a panoramic view of the thought constellation of this unconventional thinker where his seemingly disconnected domains of intellectual activity in Political Philosophy, Art History, Literature, History and Geography fall in place and contribute to the project of human emancipation.

4) Work of Fire
Dir: K R Manoj; 53 min; 2019

Work of Fire takes a look at the varying vicissitudes of the Indian fireworks industry, while trying to ask a question: why do we need fireworks? In its movement from the grimy firework production centres in Sivakshi, to moments of festivities, the Documentary addresses the human desire to create the spectacular against the ordinary.

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