Saturday, February 09, 2008

maya deren . 'kali salwar' . kalaghoda art festival

the avant garde makes its own mythical heroes. they generally are extremely reclusive or extraordinarly fiery. i don’t know of any really easygoing avant gardist. we drove all the way to town to watch a film’s adulation over surrealist american maya deren. her personal history, personalisty was grist for a talking heads biopic. not that it was abad film in any way- its just that i did not need to see the making of myth before i actually saw the work. it changed the way i watched the films, expecting biographical details and psychological insights of her, rather than letting the film phenomenon letting me make associations for myself. ‘meshes of the afternoon’ i had seen earlier in pune, ‘on land’ seemed familiar with its chess game and the sea in reverse from madonna’s ‘cherish’ video’, ‘a study in choreography for camera’ followed a dancer through a forest into an apartment and a museum, ritual in transfigured time’ had something to do with time and death. incredibly memorable images with deren’s perosna and body in sharp focus. we left before the last two films but had seen clips from them in documentary. ‘meditations on violence’ with a tai chi dancer leaping from a room to the roof; and ‘the very eye of night’ where bodies make constellations in a starry night. will have to see them both –on youtube.

‘kali salwar’ the feature mukul shot a good 9 years back seems to have finally made it to the theater. the film was based on a series of manto stories with crumbling mill land and inner city locations and the characters of that city- the writer, the roadside vagrant, the madman, the prostitute, the migrant. funny and also somewhat moving, i liked the film- but i am biased here.

the kalaghoda art festival seems to have turned into a mela for ngo produced ethnic paraphernalia. awful art that makes the most banal ‘statements’ about the city jostle for space amidst other objects that throng the pavement attempting to ‘make a difference’. the themes being of course – sustainability, nationhood and cleanliness.

as a street party it is much too cleansed; as an exploration of art in public space – too silly. still fun to see the city transformed in this way. time pass.

No comments: