It’s in Queens
#WeeklyPick | Film festival focuses on pressing Indian issues
It’s neither Hollywood nor Bollywood.
An eight-film festival, entitled “India Kaleidoscope: Celebrating India’s Regional Cinema,” will screen at the Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria’s Kaufman Arts District from Thursday, Nov. 9, through Sunday, Nov. 12. (Opening night costs $30; all other tickets are $15.)
Presented in collaboration with The India Center Foundation, this second annual exposition stays away from commercial successes and instead presents movies that explore the Southeast Asian country’s most relevant and pressing topics in regional languages with English subtitles. Plus, seven of the pieces make U.S. or North American premieres.
The fun starts with a screening of Dark Wind followed by a discussion with the director, multi-award winner Nila Madhab Panda, and a reception on Thursday at 7:30 pm. This feature follows a desperate group of rural farmers during a drought. As some commit suicide, others join forces to deal with stark landscapes and moral choices.
Here’s the schedule for the rest of the festival.
The Brawler (Nov. 10, 7:30 pm) depicts an aspiring boxer who falls in love with a high-caste mute who is also the head of the state boxing federation’s niece. He soon learns that boxing is about everything except for the sport. The director, Anurag Kashyap, will be in person.
The Golden Wing (Nov. 11, 2 pm) is a biopic on the life, music, and Western Assam homeland of legendary folk singer Pratima Barua Pandey. The director, Bobby Sarma Baruah will be on hand.
Up Down and Sideways (Nov. 11, 4:30 pm) is a documentary on rice cultivators who work and sing together over many seasons. Their song’s lyrics reflect the Neo-Confucian Chinese philosophy of Li, which involves performing rites to sustain proper natural order. Both directors, Anushka Meenakshi and Iswar Srikumar, will attend.
Prakasan (Nov. 11, 7 pm) follows a man who leaves his tropical forest home for a government job in a big city, despite warnings from friends and family. Though committed to being a success, he has problems adapting to the new languages and customs. Then he’s assigned the job of educating sex workers. The director, Bash Mohammed, will be in person.
Pahuna (Nov. 12, 2 pm) tells the story of three young Nepalese children who are separated from their parents as they flee violence. They survive thanks to the kindness of the hill people and their resolve to protect each other.
Last Days. Last Shot (Nov. 12, 4:30 pm) is a documentary on life and death on the banks of the Ganges river. Vikram takes photos of the dead before their cremations as a last memento for family members. Dada, a once-celebrated artist in Tokyo, runs a guesthouse with his Japanese wife. The director, Sumira Roy, will be on hand.
Cycle (Nov. 12, 7 pm) is the closing film, and it will screen at the SAG-AFTRA Foundation Theater at 247 W. 54th St. in Manhattan. Set in the 1960s, Keshav is a respected fortune teller in a rural area with a loving family and a beloved bicycle. One night, two bumbling thieves steal it, and Keshav is crushed. Hilarity ensues after nearby villagers recognize the bike, and the thieves struggle to stay one step ahead of the law. The director, Prakash Kunte, will attend.
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Images: Courtesy of The India Center Foundation