Shekhar Deshpande, Arcadia University

Anup Singh’s Qissa: The Tale of a Lonely Ghost (2013)

| April 19, 2015 | 0 Comments
Anup Singh’s Qissa: The Tale of a Lonely Ghost (2013)

One of the earlier passages of Walter Benjamin’s elegiac meditation on the art of storytelling captures the essence of the cherished art form.   The fourth “stanza” of that piece begins with an observation: “An orientation toward practical interests is characteristic of many born storytellers.”  The pragmatic dimension of narrative is not reduced to providing explanation, […]

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True Love Story (2014), Gitanjali Rao- L. A. Premiere, IFFLA-Apr. 10. 2015

| April 9, 2015 | 1 Comment
True Love Story (2014), Gitanjali Rao- L. A. Premiere, IFFLA-Apr. 10. 2015

I watched Gitanjali Rao’s Printed Rainbow (2006), in India when it was just released in Cannes, winning Best Short Film Award in Critics Week. It was a stunning discovery of a film and an artist. The film is not merely a masterpiece in painted image, propelling an entirely new aesthetic and bright new parameters for […]

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Chauranga (2014), Bikas Ranjan Mishra-North American Premiere-IFFLA, April 9. 2015

| April 9, 2015 | 0 Comments
Chauranga (2014), Bikas Ranjan Mishra-North American Premiere-IFFLA, April 9. 2015

Over the past two decades or so, world cinema has seen emergence of a film that anchors itself in a local idiom, bears its cultural signature and then positions its appeal to the larger, broader audience outside of its specific contexts of origin. This kind of film is one of the hallmarks of the new […]

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Titli (2014), Kanu Behl– IFFLA, April 9, 2015

| April 9, 2015 | 0 Comments
Titli (2014), Kanu Behl– IFFLA, April 9, 2015

There was always some taint to the notion of poverty in India. Shameful for the rabid nationalists, it was a sign of the struggle in postcolonial times; a difficult problem for representation since poverty for the “foreign eyes” was always different than what it meant to the people living in the slums and villages. The […]

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Haraamkhor (2015), Shlok Sharma- World Premiere, IFFLA, Apr. 8, 2015

| April 9, 2015 | 0 Comments
Haraamkhor (2015), Shlok Sharma- World Premiere, IFFLA, Apr. 8, 2015

Shlok Sharma’s Haraamkhor gives a snapshot of parallel moralities in a small Gujarat village. Shyam, a married teacher has a relationship with Sandhya, his student, who just crossed the threshold of puberty. Sandhya negotiates her relationship with divorced father’s new girl-friend. Young Kamal is infatuated with her as his accomplice Mintu prods, nods and plots […]

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Charles Chaplin+ John Berger+ Sight and Sound

| December 16, 2014 | 0 Comments
Charles Chaplin+ John Berger+ Sight and Sound

January 2015 issue of Sight and Sound magazine carries a piece by John Berger, called “The Lost Art of Falling.” Recalling Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle’s prophetic words that his friend Charles Chaplin was “undoubtedly the only one of our time who will be talked about a century from now,” Berger proceeds to diagnose the tramp’s trajectories […]

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Miss Lovely (2012)

| July 1, 2014 | 0 Comments
Miss Lovely (2012)

Ashim Ahluwalia’s Miss Lovely (2012) leaves an uneasy impression. It is not about its mildly explicit images, titillating posters or exposure to the shady underworld of low-grade semi-porno, horror film industry. It isn’t about the unconventional focus on a low grade film industry. It is none of the above, though all of that lingers in […]

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Gravity and World Cinema– Video Essay

| June 25, 2014 | 0 Comments
Gravity and World Cinema– Video Essay

Here is a video that supplements the argument that I made with Meta Mazaj in our contribution to the Cinema Journal Dossier on  New Approaches to Teaching World Cinema– “Centers, Forms and Perspectives in World Cinema.”   Gravity (2013), directed by Alfonso Cuarón and Aningaaq (2013), a short film released by his son and co-scriptwriter, Jonás Cuarón. The two […]

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Nishi Pahuja’s The World Before Her-Two Extremist Dimensions

| June 25, 2014 | 0 Comments
Nishi Pahuja’s The World Before Her-Two Extremist Dimensions

Documentary film, more than any other film form, is beset with social responsibility. Once it was a tool of power, but it has long spoken truth to that power. For the films that do rise to the task, there is a burden on the viewers to ignite the conversation. At least. Without that, a documentary […]

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More than a Game- – The Only Real Game (2013), Mirra Banks

| June 4, 2014 | 0 Comments
More than a Game- –  The Only Real Game (2013), Mirra Banks

Mirra Banks begins her documentary with pristine and picturesque images of life in Manipur, that remote state near Burma that India only forgetfully remembers. In fact, it remembers the place mostly when stories of rebellion/ the separatists appear in the Press. Banks assumes nothing, introducing the place, the images and the people. With Melissa Leo’s […]

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