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Dec
30
    

By Roger A. Davis
December 30, 2006

Do you do crossword puzzles every day?
If the answer is yes, you must see the documentary,
WORDPLAY

Will Shortz, crossword editor of the New York Times
Would know the dictionary meaning of “rimes”
Also, 21 across; Nuremberg concern:  w a r c r i m e s

His daily puzzle is the cream of the crop
Bill Clinton, Indigo Girls and Ken Burns share this passion
To fill in the squares, 4 down; current clothes:  f a s h i o n

Shortz founded the American Crossword Tournament
It is WORDPLAY’s central theme
Stamford, Conn., who will fulfill their being “The Champ” dream?

There is an underlying story of puzzle construction
That is very interesting, kind of like basic instruction
13 across; first stage of kidnapping:  a b d u c t i o n

I recommend this movie to my readership
Comedian Jon Stewart is in it, he didn’t even need one blip
Did you know, Jon proposed to Tracey with Will’s NYT puzzle tip?

As a fan of crosswords, word scrambles and cryptoquips
WORDPLAY rekindled my interest to do puzzles
Here is one for you, 10 down, Toto restraint for lip(s)

—–

Visit Eden Prairie Prose for more poems by Roger A. Davis.

Review Wordplay for yourself.

Purchase Wordplay.


 
Dec
27
    

Great art being made.  Modest Mouse is an indie music success story.  This 1997 film captures the band as they were finishing their The Lonesome Crowded West album.  The album further established a fan base that would lead to commercial and critical success that conutinues even today.  Included in the documentary are shots of the band goofing off, listening to their tracks, and in concert.  Interspersed are akward but authentic interviews with musicians, label folks, scenesters, and the band itself.  In the end the whole thing works.  You see their energy. Recommended.

Watch the film.


 
Dec
27
    

Byron Hurt takes pains to say that he is a fan of hip-hop, but over time, says Mr. Hurt, a 36-year-old filmmaker, dreadlocks hanging below his shoulders, “I began to become very conflicted about the music I love.”

A new documentary by Mr. Hurt, “Hip Hop: Beyond Beats and Rhymes,” questions the violence, degradation of women and homophobia in much of rap music.

Scheduled to go on the air in February as part of the PBS series Independent Lens, the documentary is being shown now at high schools, colleges and Boy’s Clubs, and in other forums, as part of an unusual public campaign sponsored by the Independent Television Service, which is based in San Francisco and helped finance the film.

The intended audiences include young fans, hip-hop artists and music industry executives — black and white — who profit from music and videos that glorify swagger and luxury, portray women as sex objects, and imply, critics say, that education and hard work are for suckers and sissies.

What concerns Mr. Hurt and many black scholars is the domination of the hip-hop market by more violent and sexually demeaning songs and videos — an ascendancy, the critics say, that has coincided with the growth of the white audience for rap and the growing role of large corporations in marketing the music. (more . . .)


 
Dec
27
    

Al Jazeera will begin broadcasting a 24-hour Arabic documentary channel from 1 January 2007. Programmes will range from social and political documentaries to history, science and the environment. Al Jazeera says it wants to sponsor talent and work in partnership with international filmmakers to develop content.

AME


 
Dec
25
    

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Dec
22
    

Richard Dawkins’ book The God Delusion continues rank high in Amazon and New York Times nonfiction best seller lists.  A companion to the book,  the two part documentary program The Root of All Evil? was written and narrated by Dawkins for Channel 4 in the UK.  The film has not been shown in the US, but is available on Google video. 

Part I: The God Delusion

Part II: The Virus of Faith


 
Dec
22
    

The Golden Globe nominations were announced yesterday. And as for the last 30 years no documentary category exists for TV or film. No one except award junkies and celebrity followers seems to care too much about the outcome of the Golden Globe awards, but the increasing popularity of documentaries both in the U.S. and abroad makes their absence more prominent than ever. The Hollywood Foreign Film Press who runs the event gave out a best Documentary film until 1977. If you are going to bother with the event, a documentary category should be included.


 
Dec
22
    

The Boy from Out of This World, a new documentary by director Elle Schneider has just begun production in Los Angeles. The film explores the making of Tom Graeff’s 1959 monster flick Teenagers From Outer Space, as well as the history and evolutions of the B movie as a medium rebelling against the studio system.
Boy features interviews with Troma president Lloyd Kaufman, MST3K’s Michael J. Nelson, Bryan Pearson (“Thor” in Teenagers, as Bryan Grant), other members of the film’s cast, B movie directors, and professors from the USC School of Cinematic Arts.

The film’s website, www.tomgraeff.org will document the research and discoveries made about Teenagers while the doc is filming, and make that information available publicly to TFOS lovers and B movie enthusiasts.

The film should premiere at festivals in early 2007.

Keep watching the skies!


 
Dec
21
    

A U.S. federal judge has thrown out a lawsuit by an Iraq war veteran who claimed filmmaker Michael Moore used the veteran’s image without permission in the anti-war documentary “Fahrenheit 9/11.”

The film showed Iraq war veteran Sgt. Peter Damon, who had lost his right arm near the shoulder and much of his left arm, lying in a hospital gurney at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Maryland, saying that he feels pain but that pain-killers given him “take a lot of the edge” off of it. (more…)


 
Dec
20
    

“Secrets of Mary Magdalene,” the Hidden Treasures’ production based on best selling authors Dan Burstein and Arne J. de Keijzer’s nonfiction book, will premiere December 1st on video-on-demand across the country on cable, satellite, and other digital platforms.

The documentary film strips away the veils of history to reveal the flesh and blood woman who was Jesus’ foremost apostle and possibly the love of his life. “Mary Magdalene’s story – and the new thinking about her role in history – reminds us of the essential value of compassion, tolerance and the respect for individuals that reaches beyond the narrow confines of one gender, one religious group, or one belief system,” said Dan Burstein, co-editor and contributor to “Secrets of Mary Magdalene.”

In the spirit of the holidays, local radio stations in major markets will be giving away hardcover copies of the CDS Books recently published “Secrets of Mary Magdalene” in an on-air promotion scheduled for December and January.

About Hidden Treasures Productions, Inc.

Hidden Treasures Productions, Inc. is an award-winning nonfiction television production company. Among its other documentary specials is Secrets of Angels, Demons & Masons, based on Dan Burstein and Arne de Keijzer’s best seller Secrets of Angels & Demons, which deals with the provocative issues raised in Dan Brown’s best selling book.


 
Dec
19
    

By Bryan Newbury
December 19, 2006

“April is the cruellest month, breeding

Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing

Memory and desire, stirring

Dull roots with spring rain.”

T.S. Eliot
That The Revolution Will Not Be Televised is the most essential viewing for one who endeavors to understand international politics could scarcely be disputed. Whether it is more valuable as a portrait of emerging democracy in Latin America or an account of media manipulation by private industry is up for debate.

As the Irish film crew, led by Kim Bartley and Donnacha O Briain, captures tense moments inside the presidential palace, the role of media (and subsequently, historians) is illustrated perfectly. While Hugo Chavez’ ministers are languishing in the palace, which is under threat of cannon fire should Chavez not surrender himself to the coup d’etat, one is filmed exclaiming that “[T]hey can’t destroy history.” Can’t they, now?

The Revolution Will Not Be Televised illustrates a number of issues with Latin America in general and Venezuela in particular, but the idea of destroying history is at the forefront. As one watches the film, it is alluring to contemplate just how much of history is reliable. And just how much could well be laughable. Were it not for the filmmakers arriving in Caracas in September of 2001 to shoot a documentary about the populist President of Venezuela, the official story would appear as some bastard doppelganger inverse to actual fact. That ironies seem to compound in relation to the film is symptomatic of the state of North and Latin American media it seems to decry. Read the rest of this entry »


 
Dec
19
    

PARIS, Dec 19 (Reuters) – A documentary says French special forces had Osama bin Laden in their sights twice about three years ago but their U.S. superiors never ordered them to fire.

The French military, however, said that the incidents never happened and the report was “erroneous information”.

The documentary, due to air next year and seen by Reuters on Tuesday, says the troops could have killed the al Qaeda leader in Afghanistan but the order to shoot never came, possibly because it took too long to request it.

“In 2003 and 2004 we had bin Laden in our sights. The sniper said ‘I have bin Laden’,” an anonymous French soldier is quoted as saying.

The documentary ‘Bin Laden, the failings of a manhunt’ is by journalists Emmanuel Razavi and Eric de Lavarene, who have worked for several major French media outlets in Afghanistan. A cable television channel plans to air the documentary in March.

Razavi said the soldier told them it took roughly two hours for the request to reach the U.S. officers who could authorise it but the anonymous man is also quoted in the documentary as saying: “There was a hesitation in command.”

Full article at Reuters


 
Dec
19
    

DVD Releases December 19, 2006

When the Levees BrokeReviewPurchase at Amazon.com – One year after Hurricane Katrina decimated New Orleans, director Spike Lee presents a four-hour, four-part chronicle recounting, through words and images, one of our country?s most profound natural disasters. In addition to revisiting the hours leading up to the arrival of Katrina, a Category 5 hurricane before it hit the coast of Louisiana, When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts tells the personal stories of those who lived to tell about it, at the same time exploring the underbelly of a nation where the divide along race and class lines has never been more pronounced.

Sir! No Sir!ReviewPurchase at Amazon.com – Award-winning breakout theatrical hit SIR! NO, SIR! unfolds the stunning and often forgotten story of the military men and women who helped force the U.S. government to end the Vietnam War. Poignantly narrated by a diverse cast of veteran GI resisters, who recall the ferocious days of peace marches and stiff jail sentences, SIR! NO, SIR! pulls no punches in its raw depiction of the power of people, especially those in uniform. Trading dog tags for picket signs, Purple Hearts for peace signs, thousands of ordinary GIs in that world-changing era broke ranks to start up homemade underground papers, subversive coffee shops near military bases, and to engage in mass civil disobedience that brought the war machine to its knees. Directed by David Zeiger, SIR! NO, SIR! is “powerful stuff, offering us not only a new look at the past, but to the unavoidably relevant insights into the present”


 
Dec
18
    

Not much original TV programming left to be shown in this year, thus it is a good time to try out a new monthly post that will try to provide a good overview of what documentary program will be on TV.  The focus of these posts will be highlighting new programs that are getting their media or TV debut.  US television will be the focus, although I welcome others to use our new blog system to start similar posts for other countries.  When it is a slow part of the year, I may include reference to repeats of interesting programs or films.  The monthly posts will be updated and bumped as new programming is added.

I will be using publicists and press releases to compile the list in addition to monitoring known sources of documentary films. My starting list will include PBS, History, Discovery, HBO, Sundance, IFC, and the Networks.  If you have other ideas add a comment and let me know.  Check times with your local paper, programming guide, or station to confirm times.

December 18 2006 –  9PM – Sundance Channel – Godless In America – At a time when the religious right plays an increasingly important role in national politics, documentary filmmakers Leslie Woodhead and Reggie Nadelson look at the plight of the estimated 30 million American atheists and their struggle not to be ignored. Reviewing the long, colorful and bizarre life of atheist activist Madalyn Murray O’Hair and her contemporary successors, GODLESS IN AMERICA reveals how a freethinking secular minority continues to fight for a voice in the mainstream, despite discrimination, hostility and threats of violence.

December 28 2006 – 8PM – PBS – NOVA: Underwater Dream Machine – Follow one man’s quest to engineer a submarine with panoramic views – http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/alicia/


 
Dec
18
    

When: November, 2007
Where: Palermo, Italy
What: Documentary festival with a focus on culture and ecology.
Website: http://www.nanookfest.it/


 
Dec
15
    

Mayfair Book Promotion, Inc, announces a new way forward for the author and publishing industry with the launch of their new website mayfairbooks.com.

With over forty years of experience in the publishing industry Mayfair Book Promotion are moving ahead of the times with their new website and technological initiatives. Publishing a book yourself requires taking on a long check list usually managed by the staff of a large publishing house that handles countless book titles every month. You become in essence just another number unless your name is Dan Brown or Graham Hancock and often publishers simply don’t have time to give each and every book or author a fair shot at the market. This is where Mayfair come into their own, offering both the author and the publisher new and exciting avenues into the market place.

Mayfair have refined a system that makes it easy to handle the overwhelming but very necessary initiatives to get any book or manuscript ready for the bookshelves – let alone the ever competitive book marketplace and yet still give full time and effort to individuals who may not have a big name. But in addition they also have inter-company links with newly formed and highly successful team at Real2Can.com to enable books to be turned into documentaries, films and audio books.

Using the new and mostly secret methods, Mayfair have proven that they can take books into the top sellers lists and other publishing companies want to know how. In fact Mayfair is not just for the author as publishers and agent can also use the Mayfair Book Promotion services, which are broken down into segments for simplicity. One publishing company recently switched their promotion services from in-house to Mayfair because it actually worked out to be cheaper and more effective than doing it themselves.

Part of the team is located in London England with further offices in California and through their numerous contacts they deal on a regular basis with the world’s largest publishers, distributors and wholesalers. Mayfair Book Promotion and Author Publicity has over 40 years of collective knowledge in all aspects of the publishing dilemma that all author’s face. From distribution to manufacturing, from press releases to radio campaigns, Mayfair has the knowledge and the experience to get results for your book or catalog. Their services and related programs are applicable to all genres although they have specialized in the inspirational and metaphysical market. Designed to assist authors, self-publishers and publishing companies, Mayfair has catapulted many authors onto the world stage such as the international best selling author, Philip Gardiner, Dr John Jay Harper, author of Tranceformers; Shamans of the 21st Century and international best seller Brad Steiger among many others.

Their expertise and experience in the publishing industry enables them to determine a customized plan for maximum impact for their clients. They feel each book is unique in its own right and evaluate every applicable aspect of the book, from cover art to editing, from annotations to marketing materials.

Using the latest technologies such as Print on Demand and ebooks, as well as the usual printed form, Mayfair, through their inter-company links with Real2Can.com can also get books turned into DVD documentary and audio books with a full list of experts, producers, directors, presenters and voice over artists. In fact, Mayfair and Real2Can.com offer a service unparalleled anywhere else within the industry and now the doors have been thrown wide open for everybody to join in.

For more information visit mayfairbooks.com and real2can.com.

Press related enquiries to press@mayfairbooks.com

Client enquiries to clientservices@mayfairbooks.com

Real2Can enquiries to michael@real2can.com


 
Dec
14
    

Sundance Channel has picked A Crude Awakening: The Oil Crash to launch “The Green,” the weekly block of ecologically oriented programming.The documentary polls oil workers, activists, politicians and others to show how “civilization’s addiction to oil puts it on a collision course with geology.”The three-hour block will include films and original series with a focus on “information, practical advice and community building.”

From Broadcasting & Cable


 
Dec
14
    

WASHINGTON – The producer and others involved in Oliver Stone’s documentary on Cuban leader Fidel Castro have agreed to pay the U.S. government more than $6,000 to resolve allegations they violated a long-standing embargo against the communist country.

The Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Controls, which oversees the economic embargo against Cuba, said the payment of $6,322.20 would settle alleged violations that occurred between February 2002 and May 2003 in the making of a documentary film, according to documents. A government official said the film involved in the dispute was “Comandante.”

The Treasury documents, dated Dec. 1, said that production company IXTLAN Corp. in Santa Monica, Calif., and four people had agreed to the monetary settlement. The documents did not identify the people or provide further details.

“Comandante” was the precursor to Stone’s more recent documentary on the Cuban leader called “Looking for Fidel.”

Full article at San Diego Union Tribune.


 
Dec
13
    

By Umut Newbury
December 13, 2006

For several years now, the Organic Consumers Association in the United States has been referring to genetically engineered foods with the affectionate phrase: “Frankenfoods.”

Austrian filmmaker Nikolaus Geyrhalter’s latest documentary, Our Daily Bread, illustrates grimly in about an hour and a half how all food, crops and animals, raised in the industrial agricultural system qualify as Frankenfoods.

Our Daily Bread shows us the nightmare that is producing food for 6 billion of us on this planet in the 21st century. We all partake in it everyday of our lives, yet so few of us really think of where our food comes from. Geyrhalter has tracked down for us exactly where filet mignon and eggs and bacon, even tomatoes, peppers and apples come from, and it is not pretty. The 21st century human being is so cut off from the reality of foodstuffs that it seems the more we don’t look, the worse it gets.

Geyrhalter spent two years across Europe on factory farms, shooting images of pigs, cows and chickens being slaughtered by the thousands. Think of the scene in Baraka where the accidentally hatched baby chicks were being gassed in an egg factory, then multiply it by as dozen or so times. Unlike Baraka, there is not a score substituting for narrative in Our Daily Bread. Geyrhalter’s piece is virtually quiet, except for the sound of machines, muffled human voices and lots and lots of water hoses. There are so many shots of cleaning and watering in the film, it is difficult not to remember Lady Macbeth. Human beings industrialized food production and brought it indoors to confined crowded environments and the result is lots of blood and chemicals that need to be washed from the bunny suits of workers, the floors and the equipment again and again. But water will not wash our sins away and the workers in Geyrhalter’s film seem to be aware of this. The only thing more disturbing in the film than the cruel and unusual treatment and killing of the animals is the situation of the people who work at these factories. Though we have managed to invent lots of machines to help with the dirty work, it seems the most gruesome duties are still reserved for the human workers. There has to be a person to give a cow a C-section, a person euthanize pigs and a person to cut off the heads of chickens. None of the factory farm workers in Our Daily Bread look happy or pleased with their jobs.

The situation in the fields does not look any brighter. In one scene, a field of beautiful flowers is suddenly overshadowed by a crop duster spraying pesticides; in many others Geyrhalter shows us acres and acres of land devoted to the cultivation of one single plant. Workers in these fields and greenhouses seem like robots picking produce, watering or applying a concoction of chemicals. We even get a glimpse of a field supervisor with his binoculars watching the workers on the field, reminding us of the ironic similarity to days of plantations and slavery. Even salt miners look dehumanized as they travel hundreds of feet below the European continent and find themselves in a massive maze of gigantic tunnels for the simplest of dinner table items.

We have put an end to the reign of the family farm, the natural biodiversity and ecological balance. We have consolidated food production, putting it under roofs that house hundreds of thousands of chickens and pigs, we have invented machines and conveyor belts to make the production faster, and the people who now work for feeding the world look like zombies. All this, for what? Cheap food and lots of it, for sure. There are so many mouths to be fed in this world that naturally food production needed to increase and live up to the demand. But a first year economics student could easily tell that this has to do not just with supply meeting demand but with profit-making as well. There is nothing inherently wrong with desiring a profitable industry and feeding the world at the same time, but the those of us who consume the products of this morally disturbing system meal after meal must start asking the question, “At what cost?”

Geyrhalter said this in a recent interview:

“… it becomes the scandal of how we live, because this economic, “soulless” efficiency is a reciprocal relationship with our society’s lifestyle. There is nothing wrong with saying, “Buy organic products! Eat less meat!” But at the same time it’s kind of excuse, because we all enjoy the fruits of automation and industrialization and globalization every day, which affect much more than just food.”

It’s true and Geyrhalter’s chosen technique in Our Daily Bread, sans narration or score, helps the viewer contemplate upon this.

This film should be required viewing for anyone who eats. These images should be replaying in every consumer’s head while buying groceries or ordering lunch at a restaurant. It is time we stop corn-syrup coating the hellish nightmare we call food in the 21st century.

—–

Directed by Nikolaus Geyrhalter

92 minutes/ Color

2005

Purchase at First Run/Icarus Films


 
Dec
12
    

Starz isn’t known for original documentary films, but this film is an entertaining documentary that any Hunter fan will enjoy.  As with any writer, it is tough to capture his work in a film, and this film tends to rely heavily on previous documentaries, footage from movies based on his work, and most importantly interviews with friends.  Those interviewed rarely get much screen time before jumping to a different interviewee , but by the end of the film, their love for Hunter and significant amount of his personality comes through.


 
Dec
12
    

DVD Releases December 12, 2006

America: Freedom to FacsismReviewPurchase at Amazon.com – Controversial and throught-provoking are two words that describe one of the most talked-about documentaries of 2006. Determined to find the law that requries American citizens to pay income tax, producer Aaron Russo (Bette Midler’sThe Rose, Trading Places) set out on a journey to find the evidence. Neither left nor right-wing, this startling examination of government exposes the systematic erosion of civil liberties in America since 1913 when the Federal Reserve system was fraudulently created. Through interviews with two U.S. Congressmen, former IRS Commissioner and former IRS and FBI agents, tax attorneys and authors, Russo connects the dots between money creation, federal income tax, and the national identity card, which becomes law in May 2008 and will use Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology. Could this be a precursor to an impending police state in America? Watch the film and make your own conclusions.

Ocean Odyssey – Review – Purchase at Amazon.com – Do you know what lies at the bottom of the ocean? From the makers of the Walking With… series comes an enthralling exploration of Earth’s final frontier seen through the eyes of its greatest inhabitant and the worlds largest predator, the sperm whale. Following a young male from infancy to old age, the marinescape comes vividly to life: the impossibly deep canyons, the underwater volcanoes, and the spectacular mountain ranges. The inhabitants of opaque depths are no less impressive ? black dragonfish that cast an eerie red glow, jellyfish shaped like giant footballs ? but the whale is only interested in one creature, the colossal squid. When the two meet, it is the ocean’s ultimate battle.


 
Dec
11
    

Original name: Pee (in Tamil)
Duration: 26 minutes
Year of completion: 2003
Language: Tamil with English subtitles
Format: Mini DV
Form: Documentary

Synopsis:

Mariyammal, a dalit (untouchable or harijan or scheduled caste) is a worker with Madurai Municipal Corporation in Madurai, South India. She is involved in manual scavenging activity – which still prevails in India – and is in the payroll of the Government of Tamilnadu.

The film shot while she was at work, shows the extent of humiliation she goes through everyday for 25 years. She sweeps, collects and carries the night soil in a street adjacent to a Hindu temple, with help of a broom, a vessel and some ash every morning without fail.

The film uses a lot of symbols to bring out the discrimination she experiences while others lead a life with dignity around her.

The film has no voice over per se. It has no music. It also does not have an activist or an expert but Mariyammal and her work.

Festivals and awards:

Tirupur video festival, Tamilnadu 2004(awards shared)
Sivagangai video competion, Tamilnadu 2004 (awards shared)
Jeevika 2004, New Delhi
One Billion Eyes – Indian Documentary Festival, Chennai 2005 (best film award)
Mumbai Internation Film Festival 2006 – National Jury Award
VIBGYOR Indian Documentary Film Festival 2006 – Best Documentary Film


 
Dec
11
    

Seruppu
(footwear)

Duration: 74 minutes
Language: Tamil with English subtitles
Country: India
Original Format: Mini DV

Synopsis:

This is a socio-cultural documentary on the lives of Catholic Arundhatiyars (Dalits/harijans/untouchables) of Dharmanathapuram, an old slum located at the heart of Tiruchirappalli in Tamilnadu, a southern state in India.

The people of Dharmanathapuram are involved in making footwear, one of the traditional caste based occupations of a dalit with in Indian caste based society.

According to the Presidential Order 1950: Para 3, by the Union Government of India, dalits or the people from the ‘lower castes’ in the Indian caste system who do not follow Hindu religion (or those who have converted to Christianity or Islam), are not considered as Scheduled Caste (as any other Hindu dalits) and they do not get access to reservation for jobs or in educational institutions and other support mechanism that are otherwise available to a Scheduled Caste according to the Indian Constitution.

Besides, the upper caste Hindus who had converted to Christianity also follow their caste based practices such as discrimination, exclusiveness, untouchability, and at times violence against their fellow Christians who happened to be dalits.

This film brings out the discrimination and struggle faced by the Catholic Arundhatiyars of Dharmanathapuram who also face stiff competiton in the economic grounds as mechanisation in the footwear manufacutering continues to grow in the era of globalisation.

Camera, Script, Editing and Direction: Amudhan R.P.

Produced by Amudhan R.P.

Contact Address: C 5/2 K.K.Nagar
Madurai – 625 020
India

e mail: amudhanrp@rediffmail.com


 
Dec
11
    

Original name: Mayanakurippugal (in Tamil)

Duration: 25 minutes

Year of Completion: 2005

Language: Tamil with English subtitles

Format: Mini DV

Form: Documentary

Synopsis:

Madurai city has a central crematorium, where dalits (the untouchables or the harijans or people from the scheduled caste) are involved in a traditional occupation that includes carrying dead bodies, burying or burning them and finally accept whatever paid by the relatives of the deceased ones.

The film is a journey into the crematorium to capture the various rituals carried out by the dalits to their fellow citizens who otherwise would not have touched them.

Ironically death comes alive to bring people together. An old Tamil movie song is used in the film to provoke certain existential questions about life and death.

But it is mandatory to have knowledge and skill to become a successful undertaker.

Statement on the film by the director:

My first visit to the Madurai central crematorium was only when one of friends hanged himself to death in September 2004. His body was left alone by his friends and relatives on the pyre after a point to become an exclusive property of the undertakers. The amount of care and indifference – in a peculiar and particular mixture – the undertakers showed towards each dead body left an existential question within me, which provoked this film.

The undertakers’ skill and knowledge on the cremation, their experience of having faced death too often, need to be mentioned.

This film is part of my search towards a narrative style in documentary making, which could be more emotional and less cerebral and which could probably give the audience more space for contemplation.

I am from Tamilnadu, where our popular cinema is full of songs and I am very much fascinated by the way they are used to provoke and sustain drama and emotion in our films. No wonder I used the song twice to raise two different queries at two different sequences.

Camera, sound, script, editing, direction and production: Amudhan R.P.


 
Dec
11
    

Dialogue of the powerless
India doesn’t shine for them
by Charu Singh

A rare platform for India’s voiceless and faceless millions emerged in the Capital recently, thanks to Tehelka newsweekly’s Summit of the Powerless. This was a major attempt to give voice to India’s downtrodden and is the first such annual event to show the reality behind the “new India” or the muck that hides behind the flaking plaster of “India shining”.

Tehelka’s message was literal: till the dirt is not cleared, nothing can shine. The message especially hit home with a rather difficult-to-digest documentary Vande Mataram – The Shit Version. This documentary by media activist R.P. Amudhan has become campaign material against manual scavenging and it shows the seamy side of life in India indepth. Read the rest of this entry »