//Festival of Theatre Films (Delhi Film Archive)

Festival of Theatre Films (Delhi Film Archive)

Max Mueller Bhavan, 3 Kasturba Gandhi Marg,  New Delhi
On 25th & 26th November 2006

Dear friends

Prithvi Theatre Festival in partnership with the Delhi Film Archives and Max Mueller
Bhavan presents an array of Theatre films…

at the:

Max Mueller Bhavan, 3 Kasturba Gandhi Marg,  New Delhi

On 25th & 26th November 2006


look to seeing you there

for the Delhi Film Archive

Rahul Roy / Kavita Joshi


Day 1: Saturday 25thNovember '06

 1:00 am – 12:35 pm

My Name Is Bertolt Brecht – Exile In USA

Director: Norbert Bunge, Germany, 95 min., 1989

After his escape from Nazi Germany Brecht tried to become established in the Hollywood film business. However, the years of exile from 1941 to 1947, were marked by a sense of failure and deep resignation. Brecht, like many other film directors and authors of the group "Hollywood 10", in October 1947 was interrogated by an investigation commission because of any possible anti-American activities. Following this he left the United States returning to Germany via Switzerland. The film is based on Brecht's diary and talks with his friends of those times as well as close fellow workers. It also provides an insight into the situation in the United States during the thirties and forties.
12:35 pm – 1:15 pm

Pather Chujaeri (The Play Is On…)

Director: Pankaj Rishi Kumar, India, 44 mins

How does art survive in a regime of fear? I first encountered this question in 1999, while taking photographs of Kashmir during that mindless war with Pakistan. That summer, I established contact with the National Bhand Theatre, Wathora, and the Bhagat Theatre, Akingam, two groups that were still performing in the traditional pather form of satire. I returned twice in 2001, now armed with a camera. I was encouraged by what I found: an illiterate community has sustained a centuries-old tradition in the face of debilitating social and cultural changes. Although perenially intimidated by the corruption, violence and intolerance  that  prevail in Kashmir, the bhands are still affirming a commitment to their  theatre, to the critical potential of its form and the liberating joys of  performance. Faith in Sufism has tempered their enthusiam for satire and  they identify with the collective voices of  Kashmir's  freedom.

The Play is on…. follows the two groups as they prepare for public performances, a  rare  phenomenon today. For the bhands, who daily witness the erosion of their way of life, each performance represents both  a change  as well as a repetition of the same brutal  fact: that they are not free to share  their revolutionary spirit.

enquiries:  kumartalkies (at) yahoo.com

1:15 pm – 2:00 pm : LUNCH BREAK

2:00 pm – 3:15 pm

Some Roots Grow Upwards

Directors: Kavita Joshi and Malati Rao;  52 mins, India, 2002

[The film will be preceded by a 5 minute clip on the situation in Manipur.]

What is the relevance of theatre (or all art, for that matter) to the crisis of our times? Some Roots Grow Upwards explores the work of theatre director Ratan Thiyam against the backdrop of the violence torn state of Manipur. For over 25 years now, Ratan Thiyam has been creating a theatre that is as visually compelling as it is intellectually stimulating. His theatre is steeped in the traditional performing arts of his home state, Manipur. But while his aesthetic influences are traditional, his concerns are intensely modern. His plays reflect upon the socio-political crisis gripping Manipur, the youth unrest, war and violence; at the same time, they also dwell on the larger human condition. The film examines the art of Ratan Thiyam, and seeks to delineate the imagination & the influences that give form to this theatre.

enquiries:  kj.impulse (at) gmail.com

followed by a: Discussion with Kavita Joshi

3:15 pm – 3:30 pm

Bertolt Brecht

Director: Ines Jacob; 14 min., Germany, 1998

If he were still alive today, writer and theatre director Bertolt Brecht would turn 100 years old on February 10th, 1998. His best know play internationally is "The Threepenny Opera". It´s a crazy saga about prostitutes, scroungers, beggars, and gangsters. His style, and his use of language continue to have a great influence on modern theatre. Famous director Hansgünther Heyme analyses the features, and charm of Brecht´s scripts. Using excerpts from rehearsals for "The Threepenny Opera", this report documents the role and timeliness of the theatrical work of Bertolt Brecht.

3:30 pm – 4:00 pm : TEA BREAK

4:00 pm – 5:45 pm

The Plaint of the Empress (Die Klage der Kaiserin)

Director: Pina Bausch; 103 min., Germany, 1989

"Die Klage der Kaiserin" was produced between October 1987 and April 1989. It is the first film by choreographer Pina Bausch, who was born in Solingen in 1940. The general framework is set by the changing seasons – autumn, winter and spring.The film's inner structure reflects Pina Bausch's method of working as developed with  the Wuppertal Theatre of Dance during the 1973/74 season. The film consequently does not tell a story, but is made up of various scenes put together as a collage  reflecting certain moods and invoking different associations. A variety of themes which Pina Bausch has frequently dealt with in her stage productions are also loosely interwoven in the film. Unlike the stage productions, however, the film scenes, some of which are thoroughly absurd, are set in different locations, such as the woods and fields around Wuppertal, the city centre, the suspension railway, a carpet shop, a greenhouse and the rehearsal room in a former cinema (Wuppertal's "Lichtburg"). The film features the dancers and an actress from the Wuppertal Theatre of Dance whose text improvisations, dancing and scenic variations leave their usual distinctive mark on the overall production. The futility of human activity and the search for love make up the film's central theme set against the strains of a Silician funeral march. "The despair is tangible. After all, the film is a lament", according to Pina Bausch.

Day 2: Sunday 26th November '06

10:30 am – 1:00 pm

Nee Engey (Where Are You)

Director: RV Ramani; 150 mins, 2003, India

This film, with the Shadow Puppeteers, living in South India, is a celebration and dedication to the art of moving images and to its original practitioners and community. An impressionistic ethnography, reflecting on shadow puppet theatre,history, mythology, cinema and our lives.

enquiries: ramanirv (at) hotmail.com

followed by a: Discussion wth R V Ramani

1:00 pm – 1:45 pm : LUNCH BREAK

1:45 pm – 3:20 pm

Love Me You

Director: Sylvie Banuls and  Sabina Engel; 92 mins, 2003, Germany

Love Me You is a film about some very special actors in an extraordinary  theater and about the unusual love between two of them: Moritz and Nele. They both have Down's syndrome and both act in productions of the Ramba ­Zamba Theater in Berlin – requently playing to full houses. The film sheds light on a world which most "normal" people tend to regard as substandard. Despite the international trend of global assimilation and homogenous lifestyles, the film reveals l
ife without the filters of society and its rules: one which is not only different, but also uniquely special and full of color. Against the backdrop of the bio-ethics debate, the film shows people who are assumed to be far removed from the norm, yet nonetheless manage to live a rich and whole-hearted life – wonderfully free from the constraints of social conventions.

3:20 – 3:30: Break

3:30 pm  – 5:15 pm

Naatak Jaari Hai

Director: Lalit Vachani; 84 mins, 2005, India

Natak Jari Hai is a documentary about JANAM (The People's Theatre Front), the little theatre group that never stopped performing in the face of dramatic political transformation and personal tragedy. The film explores the motivations and ideals of the JANAM actors and their vision of resistance and change as they perform their 'People's Theatre' in diverse parts of India. It brings to life the world of socialist theatre through the words of JANAM's members, and through a reflective portrayal of the group's greatest tragedy – the assassination of its convenor SafdarHashmi in 1989.

enquiries: lvachani (at) vsnl.com

followed by a: Discussion with Sudhanva Deshpande of JANAM (to be confirmed)

5:15 pm – 7:00 pm

Die Spielwütigen

Director: Andres Veiel; 108 min., Germany, 2003

Four drama students are observed during their training at the reputed Ernst Busch school of drama in Berlin. They are very different as regards their vita, their mentality and their social conduct, but they share the same passion for drama. They conclude their training successfully and we also hear of their first professional experiences.