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Shyam Benegal, Adoor Gopalakrishnan inaugurate PSBT-Doordarshan films at Open Frame Film Festival

The first film to be screened under this section was Vipin Vijay's Anthropocene Relooked.

Photo: Open Frame film Festival

Abhija Ghosh

The third segment of the PSBT Open Frame Film Festival 2018 consisting a host of films produced by PSBT and Prasar Bharti was inaugurated on Saturday (15 September). The event was attended by pioneering filmmakers of Indian Cinema, Shyam Benegal and Adoor Gopalakrishnan, who have also been long serving trustees at PSBT.

Speaking after the traditional lamp lighting ceremony, Benegal emphasized on the importance of an organization like PSBT in nurturing young documentary filmmakers to follow their passions on the issues and subjects of their choice. Similarly, Adoor Gopakrishnan also commended an annual avenue like the Open Frame Film Festival for sustaining the spirit of independent film practice.

In the last 18 years, PSBT’s contribution to the documentary practice has been immense with about 700 films and 500 filmmakers that it has supported, with several films receiving critical acclaim at other film festivals across the world.

Both Shyam Benegal and Adoor Gopalakrishnan also underlined the need for new generation of filmmakers and film practitioners to collaborate and support PSBT in continuing the spirit of independent, small-budget cinema in the face of transforming media and broadcasting platforms.

Managing trustee, Rajiv Mehrotra, extended his gratitude to Prasar Bharti and Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) for their continued support. He also thanked the film and media practitioners who have mentored the PSBT films and filmmakers as well as the team behind the success of Open Frame, especially the festival coordinators Tulika Srivastava, Radhima Mehra and Anjuli.

The opening film for the evening was Vipin Vijay's Anthropocene Relooked. The film raises questions about human perspectives and histories of narration through an interesting juxtaposition of the filmmaker’s thoughts with a gradually drowning island of Ghoramara in Sundarbans.

The film opens with shots of sounds of the sea and image of a boat from various angles then cuts to scenes from excavated Megaliths and rock art caves in Chhatisgarh. From here on Vipin’s attempt to subvert conventional narration begins and he chooses to delve into the archaeology of human imagination. The mode of the film is summarized by a question - what if the landscape and the things within it could speak their stories?

Anthropocene refers to the present geological epoch. However, Vipin’s film instead of offering a self-righteous narrative of climate change, lets the landscape and his chosen subjects at Ghoramara speak. Their stories are different from the mainstream. These submerging islands are their lives everyday.

As the film progresses, the voice over takes on snatches of local myths, folk tales, religious allusions and even local poetry. Several images in the film capture the stillness of time alongside the ravages of nature.

During the Q and A session with the audience, Vipin restated that his intention in the film was not to make a focused film on climate change but to present it as a regular lived reality for people removed from its discourse. The discussion threw up provoking questions on the choice of imagery, the dissonance between the voiceover and images, and the representation of an anthropological imagination of the filmmaker itself.

Vipin added that his reflections on the ideas of the Anthropocene through film has only begun and these issues are something that he would continue to pursue.

Related topics

Open Frame Film Festival