The Wager on Cinema: Screening 3 – What The Fields Remember
The respondents for this film are Veena Hariharan and Papori Bora.
Date: 22 April, 2016
Time: 5:30PM (Tea will be served at 5PM)
Venue: The Sarai Programme, Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, 29, Rajpur Road, Civil Lines, Delhi – 110054.
About ‘The Wager on Cinema’-
How do we estimate the value, aesthetic force, and meaning of cinema today? As media experience, technological change has transformed it beyond recognition, its material forms altered by analog and digital video formats, and the modes of circulating, viewing, accessing cinema and making it have expanded exponentially. And yet, the dream and ambition of cinema as we have known it has not dissipated, the desire to congregate audiences to participate in a distinct world of experience, whether to excite, amuse, to move or to solicit reflection and engagement, to bear witness and to mobilize.
For us at Sarai, the wager on cinema carries high stakes. It means renewing a pact with a bid to explore experience, to take film technique as a vehicle of the unexpected, making connections that take us aback, working out strategies to navigate media’s capacity to deceive – to sting the audience as much as expose secretive acts – through a forensic analytics, through ethical calibration, but also playfully, ironically. For us, such a wager also places emphasis on process, how things are done, how techniques are used, what evidence is presented, what judgments are made, how publics are engaged, framing the cinema as an act of research. In this series, Sarai will screen films to shift focus, to conjure up unusual images and sounds, novel techniques and subject matter, and will organise discussions with practitioners, researchers and an interested public to renew our investment in the cinema, to capture what it means in our times.
Synopsis of ‘What The Fields Remember’
Duration: 52 mins/HD/Bengali and English
On 18th February 1983, from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm, more than 2000 Bengali speaking Muslims were killed in the town of Nellie and its surrounding villages in Assam, India. People’s homes were burnt down and their fields destroyed. Most of those who died were old people, women and children. Till date the Nellie massacre, remains on the margins of India’s public history, and is virtually wiped out from the nation’s collective memory.
The documentary film What the Fields Remember revisits the massacre three decades later. From the survivors, Sirajuddin Ahmed and Abdul Khayer’s, retelling of the event, and their struggles of coping with loss and memories that refuse to fade away, the film attempts to explore ideas of violence, memory and justice. It also tries to understand how physical spaces that have witnessed the violence continue to mark people’s relationship to history and memory. What the Fields Remember also attempts to raise larger questions around collective memory – of what we choose to remember and why we choose to forget.
Subasri Krishnan has been filmmaker for more than a decade. She also heads the Media Lab of the Indian Institute for Human Settlement (IIHS)
Veena Hariharan is an Associate Professor of Cinema Studies at the School of Arts and Aesthetics, JNU, Delhi
Papori Bora is an Assistant Professor at the Centre for Women Studies, JNU, Delhi