‘Artists’ Cinema’ package spotlights Kerala’s cultural icons

Four-day film package curated by noted film scholar Dr C.S. Venkiteswaran begins at KMB 2016

Kochi, Mar 22: A four-day film package, screening documentaries on iconic figures of Kerala’s cultural fraternity and curated by noted film critic and columnist Dr. C.S. Venkiteswaran, began here today as part of Kochi-Muziris Biennale 2016’s ‘Closing Week’.

The package, titled ‘Documentaries on writers, thinkers, auteurs’, features the last series of showings in the Kochi Biennale Foundations’ hugely popular ‘Artist’s Cinema’ programme. The screenings, which are to run till Saturday (March 25), will start at 5.30 pm at the Pavilion in Cabral Yard. The concluding day of the package, however, will see the screening begin at 5 pm.

“The Biennale is a space that showcases the lives and worldviews of artists, writers and thinkers from Kerala who have taken their art to the world. So, in this package, I have included four significant documentaries that familiarise the audience about some pioneering figures who helped make the foundation of Kerala’s intellectual traditions,” Venkiteswaran said.     

The first documentary, shown today, centered on famed Malayalam writer Perumbadavam Sreedharan. Titled In Return Just a book, the 45-minute work was directed by Shiny Jacob Benjamin and scripted by eminent writer Paul Zacharia. The film, shot in St. Petersburg (Russia) and Kerala, is based on Perumbadavam’s book Oru Sangeerthanam Pole (Like a Psalm) – which in turn was inspired by Fyodor Dostoevsky. It follows a narrative tale about the time when Perumbadavam went on to visit Dostoevsky’s home to find inspiration for his book.

The package also includes Maruvili by Anwar Ali, an award-winning documentary on one of the foremost modernist poets from Kerala, Attoor Ravi Varma, which creates a vivid portrait of the poet by having contemporary poets interrogating him about his writing. This reveals not only the literary landscape of the last 50 years, but also the questions that writers deal with today.

The other works featured are Life and films of KG George, a documentary on iconic filmmaker K.G. George titled by Lijin Jose and Shahina Rafeeq. On the final day of the package, a documentary, titled Kesari by National Award-winning filmmaker K.R. Manoj on the influential visionary, thinker and critic, Kesari Balalkrishna Pillai, will be screened.

Framed around thoughts on Kesari from such celebrated personalities as renowned poet K. Satchidanandan, noted cultural historian Prof. Dilip Menon, scholar Prof. M.V. Narayanan, cultural theorist Udaya Kumar, among others, the documentary seeks to add to the existing corpus of literature on Kesari.

Following the screening, Prof. Menon will deliver a ‘Let’s Talk’ lecture titled ‘At the End of Time: Thinking the World from Kochi’ that will, in part, build on the documentary.


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