Date: Thursday, March 8th at 8:00PM
Venue: Oddball Films, 275 Capp Street, San Francisco.
Admission: $10.00 - Limited Seating RSVPs to firstname.lastname@example.org or 415.558.8117
India and the Infinite (Color, 1979)
Images gathered from Kashmir to Varanasi to Mumbai combine with the poetic narration of renowned historian Dr. Huston Smith (author of the classic Religions of Man) to underscore how so much in Indian culture, from the most mundane daily ritual to temple ceremonies, carries the promise of spiritual awakening. India and the Infinite explores India’s many religions - Islam, Jainism, Buddhism, Sikhism, Christianity and, of course, Hinduism – its love of ritual and what it symbolizes, its great art and architecture, and the extraordinary leap of consciousness that birthed the concept, “You are God.”
Exploring both the paradoxes and extremes, the sensuality and asceticism present in this remarkable culture Smith, one of the most eloquent and accessible writers on the history of religion and culture brilliantly conveys the seemingly impossible task of giving viewers a concept of what India is truly like-from the inside out. Winner of the Cine Golden Eagle, 1979
Juggernaut: A Film of India (Color, 1969)
India is a nation for whom tradition dictates the details of everyday life. Its culture is rooted in the past yet it must deal with the problems of today: hunger, disease, poverty and overpopulation. India is revealed through the eyes of her people as they watch the journey of a convoy carrying a calandria, the 70-ton heart of a Canadian nuclear reactor, to Rajasthan, passing over roads specially strengthened and through city walls torn down to make way. A thought-provoking and unforgettable commentary on the nature of India.
Bombay Movies (Color, 1977)
The entire output of the American film industry is the merest trickle in comparison with India, where the original Moguls release many times more films each year than the Americans can ever dream of. Studios in Bombay’s Hollywood, Bollywood, churn out a smorgasbord of musicals and exploitation films on a daily basis, serving the needs of India’s vast moviegoing public. Follow mega-star Vinod Khanna as he introduces American audiences to cinema, Indian-style.
The Dam at Nagarjunasagar (Color, 1972)
A profile of the construction of the world’s largest masonry dam built across the Krishna River, Nagarjuna Sagar, Andhra Pradesh in central India focuses on the daily tasks of the 30,000 men, women, and children involved in this colossal 14-year project. Directed by Gene Searchinger and narrated by Ossie Davis.
Drums of Manipur (B+W, 1952)
Today Manipur is at war with itself and India and deep divisions run through this state. This is a rare and naïve look at the music and cultural festivals of Manipur, a tribal state located in the mountainous regions of Assam, India. A long lost view of a state like no documentary, textbook or feature film will ever provide.
The March of Time: India’s New People (B+W, 1952)
A newsreel study in contrasts of the new Indian society in transition 5 years after independence. The film features an interview with Peter Hopkinson, March of Time cameraman, about India. Footage examines the lifestyle of the Maharajas including the Maharaja of Jaipur, Sir Sawai Man Singh Bahadur and his lavish lifestyle, relatives, polo playing, airplanes and cars. These scenes are contrasted with the lifestyle of a poor family of untouchables near Madras –including domestic scenes, basket making, schooling and religion. The `new industrialists' are also featured including the Tata family and the Parsees of India. Finally we examine the Indian film industry on the set of a feature film and the life of a religious Brahmin and his religious ceremonial observance.
Kathakali: Dances of India (B+W, 1948)
A remarkably precious film showcasing the Kathakali temple dances of Southern India. Kathakali, one of a myriad of Indian dances consists of a visually bizarre and stunning series of complex gestural dances utilizing the face, eyes, mouth, lips and the entire body to create a stunning theatrical range of human emotion.
Indian Home Movies (Color, 1950s)
Rare Kodachrome home movies of the holy city of Varanasi and much more
I am Twenty (B+W, 1967)
The 1960s saw an explosion of documentary filmmaking in India. Films like I Am Twenty and India ‘67, took as their subject the 20 year old nation. These films were innovative in their structure and searching in the questions they asked of their country, years after Nehru’s grand experiment in government.
For decades Indian audiences had been "informed and educated" through didactic narrated documentaries. In these films the Indian citizens finally speak from the screen. S.N.S. Sastry’s I Am Twenty was structured around interviews with young people who were born in 1947 when India attained her freedom. The film made a tremendous impact because the young people whom Sastry interviewed on camera came out with force and exuberance. They expressed their feelings with candor. Young men with uncertain futures questioned bitterly: "Is it freedom to starve and go naked?" "Well I don't love my country... and even if I did, to whom should I speak of my love?" This note of dissonance, an element of doubt was something new to the officially sanctioned Indian documentary. These films were made by independent filmmakers who were politically active and, like the government, recognized the power of the medium to bring change. Filmmakers like S.N.S. Shastry and Pramod Pati made experimental short films that were political both in their subject matter and in their opposition to the default government perspective.
Plus! Clips from Heritage of India (1930s) featuring the Jantar Mantar Astronomical Observatory built in the 17th Century, the touristy curio Mystic India (1942) and South Indian temple festival footage shot live in Kerala in 2011.