ASA12: Arts and aesthetics in a globalising world

3rd-6th April 2012, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India

Film programme, main CSSS auditorium

We will have a film programme running parallel to the panels, affording delegates the opportunity to view some films which will be discussed in certain panels, along with some other work. Final lineup to be confirmed.

Wednesday 4th April


Flyoverdelhi (52')

Directors: Paolo Favero and Angelo Fontana
Producer: Paolo Favero

Based on an anthropological research on modernity and globalization in New Delhi, FLYOVERDELHI offers a series of snapshots on the life of young middle class men and women in this Indian metropolis. Young managers, sports professionals, journalists, tourist guides, airline hostesses, and DJs tell their experiences of growing up in a country opening up to the global market. With a visual language echoing the one of the video-clip alternated with more, stylistically speaking, 'classical' moments, the film introduces the viewer to a modern India seldom depicted in Western mass media, awakening also questions regarding the meaning of globalization in today's world.


Mediations on the Tiger (18')

Directed and produced by Soudhamini

With the lines of Rose Auslander and the images of Franz Marc offering friendly support, this 3 screen installation is set in Munich. Using a slender narrative thread braided into the 'foreign' landscape, it explores the setting up of polyphonic rhythms by juxtaposing opposites - the still and the moving, the frontal and the diagonal, the familiar and the new.


It's open (17')

Director: Nilanjan Bhattacharya; Assistant Director: Giulia Battaglia

Focusing on a hundred-year-old cinema hall and an old wrestling place this short video celebrates the fading milieus of bygone time and space in a fast-transforming city like Bangalore.


(What is) The White Matter? (49')

By Soumyadeep Paul and Matti Pohjonen

In the summer of 2012, a man named Anjan arrives in Varanasi, one of the holiest cities in India.  Then he mysteriously disappears.  Left behind is his research material and fragments of an ominous science-fiction story about a strange character, K, whose ancestors visited the city from another dimension thousands of years ago.  As we find more about Anjan, the mystery only deepens.  Where is Anjan?  And what has happened to him as he desperately tries to find answers to questions that torment him from this spiritual city?

This film, a reconstruction of the events, is as much about the city, as it is about its protagonist.  Mixing research footage, real and fictional interviews and a surrealistic 'rhizomatic' narrative, it blends the real and imaginary in ways that defy all conventions of classical filmmaking.  Combining creative use of new digital technology with working in difficult locations and with real people, the film opens up new possibilities of expression for visual anthropology today.


The Lover and the Beloved: A Journey Into Tantra (70')

Directed by Andy Lawrence
Produced by All Rites Reversed and Asta Films in partnership with The Granada Centre for Visual Anthropology
Distribution: Documentary Educational Resources

A documentary feature film about one man's journey across northern India and his search for enlightenment. Rajive McMullen, a history teacher suffering from a debilitating illness, makes the painful journey into the heart of Tantra, searching for meaning in holy shrines, coming close to death in cremation grounds and enjoying the chaos of the Aghori seekers. This film offers dramatic insight into Tantrik ideas about the life cycle, particularly death, and contributes much to our understanding of how we seek knowledge and how we die.


The Divine Search: Baul singers of Bengal (26')

Produced by Benoy Behl

Fortunately, in the midst of our fast-changing and commercializing world, amazing pockets of traditional Indian thought and culture still survive. The Bauls of Bengal are among those who continue a very ancient legacy. The word Baul probably comes from the Sanskrit viyakul meaning impatiently eager. Some consider them to be insane, in a divinely inspired way. Indeed they are far from the sanity of the materialistic and mundane world. They are ecstatically impatient to lose themselves. To lose their own identities, to see themselves as a part of the greater one. That one which is also within.

Thursday 5th April


So Heddan So Hoddan (Like Here Like There) (52')

Directors: Anjali Monteiro and K.P. Jayasankar

Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai, a medieval Sufi poet, is an iconic figure in the cultural history of Sindh. Bhitai's Shah Ji Risalo is a remarkable collection of poems which are sung by many communities in Kachchh, Gujarat and across the border in Sindh (now in Pakistan). Umar Haji Suleiman is a self taught Sufi scholar; once a cattle herder, now a farmer, he lives his life through the poetry of Bhitai. Umar's cousin, Mustafa Jatt sings the Bheths of Bhitai. He is accompanied on the Surando, by his cousin Usman Jatt. The film explores the life worlds of the three cousins, their families and the Fakirani Jat community to which they belong.


Stitches Speak (12')

Directed by Nina Sabnani

Tanko Bole Chhe (The Stitches Speak) is an animated documentary which celebrates the art and passion of the Kutch artisans associated with Kala Raksha, tracing multiple journeys made by the participants towards defining their identities and towards forming a Trust and the School for Design. The film uses their narrative art of applique and embroideries through which they articulate their responses to life, and events as traumatic as the earthquake and as joyful as forming a collective. Through conversations and memories four voices share their involvement in the evolution of a craft tradition.


Mukand and Riaz (8')

Directed by Nina Sabnani

Based on the true story of how Partition affects two friends.


Behind the masks (44')

Directed by Monica Heintz and Alin Rus

At the beginning of the 21st century, temporary migration from Eastern to Western Europe touches a high percentage of the Romanian rural population. The adults capable of work live between two worlds: their birthplace and their workplace abroad, due to the free circulation in the European space and to the development of means of communication. But where is their real life? Starting from Christmas celebrations in a family from Helesteni, a village in the north of Romania, and from their traditional New Year masquerade, we were trying to find out what lies behind the masks.