Documentary Series from / on Tamilnadu
Organized by MARUPAKKAM
in association with Panuval Book Shop, Discovery Book Palace and Periyar Self Respect Media Department – Periyar Thidal
Curated by Amudhan R.P. : Program 01
13-19 March 2017
13 March: Panuval Book Shop, Thiruvanmiyur
6:00 pm Bhopal – An Unpunished Crime (Dir: Maga Tamizh Prabhakaran;
24 min; Tamil; News7 Tamil production)
24 min; Tamil; News7 Tamil production)
A film on Bhopal gas tragedy and people’s (victims) fight for justice.
How would one travel time, traverse a chasm spanning millions of years to stare into the past? In the little town of Ariyalur, you can do the impossible. Standing in the midst of a mass grave of prehistoric ocean life, one gets a glimpse of mother earth in her Cretaceous prime and comes face to face with a physical incarnation of time and life of the planet.
Kulasekarnpattinam is an ancient harbour in south of Tamilnadu,(INDIA). It is known for its century old folk festival, a unique, but absolutely fascinating annual event, which draws many lakhs of simple rural folk. It also held for 10 days in the month of October at the temple of the local goddess Mutharamman. The festival demands of the rural people the novel pledge of wearing masks, singing and dancing.This film travels and explores through the folk festival and try to make this experience to a fiction like narration.
14 March: Panuval Book Shop, Thiruvanmiyur
6:00 pm Menses (Dir: Geeta Ilangovan; 38 min)
A film on social and cultural taboo around menses, and various people’s take on it.
7:00 Yaazhpaaanam Thedchanamoorthy (Dir : Amshan Kumar; 35 min)
This is a Tamil documentary on the great Tavil Vidwan Yazhpanam Thedchanamoorthy. He was lionised for his musical accomplishments by both his fans and carnatic musicians. To this day they remember his great performances in India and Sri Lanka. As an iconic figure he helped bridge the ties between the two countries through soulful music.
The film had been premiered in London, Toronto, Jaffna, Chennai, Paris and Sydney to rousing reception from his fans. It won the National Award for the Best Art Documentary in 2015.
Ex-workers of a thermometer factory owned and run by Hindustan Lever Limited in Kodaikanal, a hill station in south India suffer from mercury contamination. 30 persons have died so far due to various diseases. The ex-workers of the factory continue their fight against the multinational company which refuses to take the responsibility.
15 March: Discovery Book Palace, KK Nagar
Silent Hues', takes a look at six child actors from India. Moving through conversations and silences, the film lines and colours the spoken and unarticulated thoughts and emotions of the children who vary from a confident star in the making to an unknowing infant. The mindset and ambitions of the makers of these child actors, the fathers and mothers is unravelled through interviews. 'Silent Hues' reveals the politics of child actors/ workers through an unstated yet dense rendering of scenes that dissolve from one to the other.
The film follows musician Sanjay Subrahmanyan to concerts and private practice moments. A very personal film, it attempts to engage with the experience of his music and reflects through referential images of other classical arts like sculpture and dance, travels through temple festivals where music is an inherent part.
The film has been screened at many international festivals, including the International Filmfest Muenchen.
16 March: Discovery Book Palace, KK Nagar
Nuclear Hallucinations is a film, which claims to be a documentary, and it is centred around the anti-nuclear struggle against the kudankulam atomic power project in south India.
7:00 Ramaiyaavin Kudisai (Dir: Bharathi Krishnakumar; 60 min)
A film on Keelvenmani massacre (1968) in which 44 people, mostly women and children, belonging to Dalit agricultural families, were burnt alive by landlords and their henchmen in (united) Tanjore district, Tamilnadu.
17 March : Periyar Thidal, Veperi
6:00 Ma Aranganathanum Konjam Kavithaihalum (Dir: Ravi Subramaniyan; 45 min)
A film on Ma Aranaganathan, a Tamil writer.
The film ‘Yaadhum’ (All) is a celebration of diversity within the Tamil, Indian and Islamic world. It throws the spotlight on the less spoken Tamil Muslim community, its history and identity, and how Islam took early roots in the Tamil country, even as it was spreading across the Arabian Peninsula and beyond.
The story is told through Kombai S. Anwar’s perspective, himself being a Tamil Muslim. It covers archaeological excavations, inscriptions, old mosques built in the architectural traditions of Tamil Nadu & Kerala, other existing traditions, Sufism, literature and interviews with well-known historians. The film showcases more than a millennium old harmonious co-existence of Islam in Tamizhagam.
18 March : Periyar Thidal, Veperi
A poetic free flowing documentary along with the river Kaveri, which explores the myriad possible relations possible between a self-conscious 'subject' and an active 'object', in this case the river itself. It is finally an 'impossible' love story between the sound and the image.
The title of the film is from Cat Stevens song by the same name. The film is an expression of solidarity by the filmmaker with the survivors of the Bhopal gas victims in their on-going struggle for justice
In 2008, survivors of one of the world’s largest industrial disaster undertook a Padayatra from Bhopal to Delhi, to ask their Government to intercede on their behalf with Union Carbide and DOW petrochemicals, so that justice was done. This was a peaceful protest march, and the documentary records this excruciating journey of over 800 Kms as a fellow participant in solidarity with the Satyagrahis.
The film is a celebration of the resilience and will to live of our fellow citizens, against impossible odds. .. With the walk, Kailasam also records the over 30 year movement for
19 March: Periyar Thidal, Veperi
Thangam documents the life and times of a thirteen-year-old girl Thangam of Valuthoor
village, in Tirunelveli, who is tomboyish and unwilling to toe the line like her peers in
the village who roll bidis for a living. Through re-enactments of events from her life, this
film follows Thangam as she tries to escape her mundane life and chases her dreams.
SheWrite weaves together the narratives and work of four Tamil women poets.
Salma negotiates subversive expression within the tightly circumscribed space allotted to a woman in the small town of Thuvarankurichi. She is able to defy and transcend family proscriptions on writing to become a significant voice questioning patriarchal mores in a powerful yet gentle way.
For Kuttirevathi, a Siddha doctor and researcher based in Chennai, solitude is a crucial creative space from where her work resonates, speaking not just for herself but also for other women who are struggling to find a voice. Her anthology entitled Breasts (2003) became a controversial work that elicited hate mail, obscene calls and threats.
The fact that a number of women poets are resisting patriarchy and exploring themes such as desire and sexuality in their creative work been virulently opposed by some Tamil film lyricists, who have gone on record with threats of death and violence. In various ways, the dominant culture has tried to threaten and rubbish the poets and their work. This has been resisted by a group of poets and other artists who have formed an organization called Anangu (Woman), which is attempting to expand the subversive creative spaces available to women writers and poets, across Tamil Nadu.
Malathy Maitri, who lives in Pondicherry, has been a Dalit and Marxist activist. She is a founder member of Anangu and militantly opposes the attacks on women writers. Her poems attempt to explore and express feminine power.
Sukirtharani, a schoolteacher in Lalapet, writes of desire and longing, celebrating the body in a way that affirms feminine empowerment and a rejection of male-centred discourse. The film traverses these diverse modes of resistance, through images and sounds that evoke the universal experiences of pain, anger, desire and transcendence.
A battered face believes that Kannaki, legendary heroine of the ancient Tamil literary work Silapathikaram, will one day come, fight for justice. This is recounted through a Koothu played in the historic land before the war in Sri Lanka. "Mullaitivu saga" an episode of planned massacre of the suppressed people while most of the human rights machinery remained a silent witness.
Initially, this film started on a personal note propelled by the desire to document my lived experience of the city of Chennai. Later after shooting a bit of the Besant Nagar episode, we happened to get sufficient funds to make an alternative dissemination project for IDPAD & INTACH as M.S.S. Pandian (Social Scientist) and A. Srivatsan (Architect) wished to document their research on the city along with mine.
The main thread then became how with globalization the city began to be envisioned as an ideal destination for the international business traveller as against the earlier envisioning of it as an ideal destination for the international tourist. Caught as it was in the process of unprecedented change and development we wished to document the objectives of this move and the processes that marginalized the North Chennai while privileging South Chennai. Hence the title, Chennai – The Split City.
7:00 Kakoos (Dir:Divyabarathi; 104 min)
A film about man hole workers in Tamilnadu, the discrimination they face from the
society and the governments, the health hazard, the danger and death they encounter
to the poisonous gas are forced to consume from the man-holes, and the uncertain
future that is imposed on their families and their children.
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