From the back of the case:
The film Bioscope is set in the second decade of the 20th century. The film unfolds in the backdrop of cinema making its appearance in Kerala.
The protagonist Diwakaran’s new journey begins with his acquisition of a bioscope from the Frenchman DuPont, who organizes bioscope shows on the coasts of Tamil Nadu. He returns home and starts conducting bioscope shows in his village. The villagers welcome the new images with innocence. Yet, some suspect that the bioscope box has ghosts of the British hidden in it. Continue reading K.M. Madhusudhanan – Bioscope (2008)
Set in a remote part of Travancore-Cochin, Oridathu tells the story of a village where electricity arrives for the first time. The villagers find this modern innovation as a threat to their natural way of life, accustomed to more earthy resources of energy. The film depicts the narrow mindedness and hypocrisies of village lives with humour. The film reaches a conclusion that life is better without electricity and also condemns cinema as a legitimate means of expression. Continue reading Govindan Aravindan – Oridathu AKA And Then There Was a Village (1986)
From the back of the case:
A desolate bus-stop on a highway… figure of a village woman – Balo, waiting to deliver a meal to Sucha Singh, the husband, a bus driver. He expects the traditional duties of an average Indian rural wife. Balo in turn accepts her husband’s independent lifestyle. Balo hurries to the bus-stop. She is late delivering the meal, trying to save her younger sister, Jinda, from being seduced by the village rake. Continue reading Mani Kaul – Uski Roti AKA Our Daily Bread (1970)
Meenakshi, a young women from a very traditional Hindu family (Tamil Brahmins), travels by bus from a mountain town to catch a train from the plains. It’s a long journey, especially when one has a small baby to care for (like Meenakshi), so she is entrusted into care of Raja, worldwide known photographer. They behave as polite strangers until some religious flare-up disrupts the journey. Continue reading Aparna Sen – Mr. and Mrs. Iyer (2002)
The film begins with the journey of Rama and Lakshmana to kill Shambuka – the shudra who performs penance – but Shambuka’s wife pleads for his life, and he is spared. Rama and Lakshmana return to Ayodhya to face Urmila, the spirited wife of Lakshmana. Rama replies to her reproaches for abandoning Sita in the Dandakaranya forests, through which they have just journeyed, that the husband of Sita is only a servant of the people of Ayodhya.
Continue reading Govindan Aravindan – Kanchana Sita AKA Golden Sita (1977)
In this short film on the life and work of the 12th century saint-poet, Mahadevi Akka, her radical poems, written with the female body as a metaphor, have been composed and picturised in contemporary musical language. Mahadevi, framed as Akka – elder sister, while leaving the domestic arena in search of God also abondoned modesty and clothing. The film explores the meaning of this denial through the work of contemporary artists and writers and testimonies of ordinary folk who nurtured her image through centuries in their folklore and oral literature. A celebration of rebellion, feminity and legacy down nine hundred years. Continue reading Madhushree Dutta – Scribbles on Akka (2000)
In an ancient castle in Rajasthan the King overhears the parrot in its cage whispering erotic descriptions to his young daughter Princess Kurangi. Enraged, he pulls out a knife and attacks the cage. Kurangi defends the bird by arguing that its speech is all learnt. Young women descend into the waters of a pool. Kurangi clutches the green parrot with its long tail against her bosom. Her clothes fall on the steps as she enters the waters with the parrot. The bird suddenly spreads its wings and flies off travelling over the mountain top to a far place.
The parrot has been captured by a bird catcher. When Ratnasen passes by its cage, he is startled to hear the parrot speak his love’s name: “Kurangi”
If Ratnasen would free the parrot from his sleepy master, it would be willing to show him the way to the palace and lead him through the secret passages to Kurangi’s chamber. The two reach the palace and the bird flies off to tell Kurangi of her lover’s approach. Ratnasen scales the tower to finally reach her chamber in the clouds and spend a night of’ love. THE CLOUD DOOR has been adapted from three sources: Bhasa’s Sanskrit play ” Aimaraka “(5th-7th century) Malik Mohammed Jayasi’s Sufi epic love poem ” Padmavat ” (13th century) and the erotic Indian tales “Suksaptiti” (writer unknown). Continue reading Mani Kaul – The Cloud Door (1994)