The Wager on Cinema: Screening 7 – Nuclear Hallucinations
The respondents for this film are Subasri Krishnan and Ravi Vasudevan.
Date: 17 November, 2017
Time: 5:00 PM (Tea will be served at 4:30 PM)
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 Nuclear Hallucinations (2016/English/54 mins)
Nuclear Hallucinations is a film, which claims to be a documentary, and it is centred around the anti-nuclear struggle against the Kudankulam Atomic Power Project in South India. In a context where cases of sedition and waging of war against the state are filed against anti-nuclear protesters, the film attempts to question the totalitarian nature of pro- nuclear assertions through comic modes. Satirical impersonations, performance and ironic renderings of jingoistic rhetoric work together to form a narrative that explores the tragic absurdity of constructing nuclear power plants on a tsunami affected coast. This narrative tries to ascertain the relation between the production of “scientific facts” about the “safe” nature of the Indian nuclear project and violence against anti-nuclear protesters including police firing. Anti-nuclear activists, villagers and performers who appear in the film engage with the farcical dimension of these “facts” and this raises larger questions about how authoritarian knowledge claims are asserted through the documentary form.
Fathima Nizaruddin is an alumnus of AJK Mass Communication Research Centre, Jamia Millia Islamia, and Goldsmiths, University of London. Her film Talking Heads (Muslim Women) has been screened at various international film festivals including Punto de Vista, Spain, Filmmor Women’s Film Festival, Turkey and Bracelona International Women’s Film Festival. She is a recipient of the National Geographic’s All Roads Seed Grant and Public Service Broadcasting Trust (PSBT)’s Film Fellowship. Nuclear Hallucinations is part of her practice based PhD project at University of Westminster, London.
Subasri Krishnan has been a filmmaker for more than a decade. She also heads the Media Lab of the Indian Institute for Human Settlement (IIHS).
Ravi Vasudevan is Professor at CSDS and co-founder of The Sarai Programme.