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Filmi Fridays

South Asian film series
Fridays at 12pm in the South Asian Studies Seminar Room

Around_India

24 January 2020 Around India with a Movie Camera

Director: Sandhya Suri
Duration: 73 minutes
Language: Silent

Video compilation drawn exclusively from the BFI National Archive, "Around India" features some of the earliest surviving film from India as well as travelogues, intimate home movies, and newsreels from British, French, and Indian filmmakers. 

Suitable_Girl

31 January 2020 A Suitable Girl

Director: Sarita Khurana & Smriti Mundhra
Duration: 97 minutes
Language: Kannada, Marathi, Hindi, and English (with English subtitles)

A Suitable Girl follows three young women in India struggling to maintain their identities and follow their dreams amid intense pressure to get married. Ritu, Dipti, and Amrita represent the new India. Educated, financially stable, and raised with a mix of traditional and contemporary values in the urban cities of Mumbai and New Delhi, they have access to the world in ways their mothers did not. Yet their lives take a dramatic turn when the pressure to settle down and get married hits. Career aspirations become secondary to the pursuit of a husband, and the women struggle with the prospect of leaving their homes and families to become part of another.

Lovesick

7 February 2020 Lovesick

Director: Ann S. Kim & Priya Giri Desai
Duration: 74 minutes
Language: Tamil, Hindi, and English (with English subtitles)

In India, where marriage is a must but AIDS carries a stigma, what are HIV-positive people to do? In 1986, Dr. Suniti Solomon discovered India's first case of HIV. Now at age 72, she's found a way to help her HIV-positive patients find partners (and meet societal expectations) by taking on a new role: marriage matchmaker.

Shiraz

14 February 2020 Shiraz: A Romance of India

Director: Franz Osten
Duration: 106 minutes
Language: Silent (with English intertitles)

"Shiraz: A Romance of India" (1928) imagines the sweeping love story of the 17th-century princess Mumtaz Mahal and the subsequent construction of the Taj Mahal in her honor.

Driving_Selvi

21 February 2020 Driving with Selvi

Director: Elisa Paloschi
Duration: 74 minutes
Language: Kannada and English (with English subtitles)

Selvi, like so many girls in India, is a child bride in a violent marriage. One day she escapes and goes on to become South India's first female taxi driver. This is the ten-year journey of a charming, strong, and courageous young woman who defies all expectations, moving beyond the pain she's experienced to create a new life.

 

FilmTrio

28 February 2020 Trio of short films: ThreadsClaiming our VoiceCast in India

Director: Cathy Stevulak; Jennifer Pritheeva Samuel; Natasha Raheja
Duration: 32 minutes; 21 minutes; 28 minutes
Language: Bangla, Hindi, and English (with English subtitles)

Threads: Torn from her beloved Calcutta after the partition of India, artist Surayia Rahman finds a new life in Bangladesh teaching impoverished women to embroider her story-telling designs.

Claiming our Voice: Short documentary film by Jennifer Pritheeva Samuel sharing the stories of Andolan, an organization founded and led by South Asian immigrant women low-wage workers as a means to support each other and collectively organize against exploitative work conditions. The film follows the women as they create, rehearse and refine acts for their first popular multi-lingual theater performance, directed by YaliniDream. Claiming Our Voice seeks to break community silence by allowing women to (literally) set the stage for how their stories will be told.

Cast in India: Iconic and ubiquitous, thousands of manhole covers dot the streets of New York City. Enlivening the everyday objects around us, this short documentary is a glimpse of the working lives of the men behind the manhole covers in New York City.

Machines

6 March 2020 Machines

Director: Rahul Jain
Duration: 71 minutes
Language: Hindi and English (with English subtitles)

A documentary which provides a tour of an enormous textile factory in Gujarat, India where the workers spend 12-hour days among the machines and chemicals.

 

Laila_Bridge

20 March 2020 Laila at the Bridge

Director: Elizabeth & Gulistan Mirzaei
Duration: 97 minutes
Language: Dari, Pashto, and Persian (with English subtitles)

Laila Haidari survived child marriage and her own traumatic past to battle one of the deadliest problems in Afghanistan: heroin addiction. As the "mother of the addicts," she must prevail over a crisis of addiction and a corrupt government in a country on the verge of collapse.

Angels_Light

27 March 2020 Angels are Made of Light

Director: James Longley
Duration: 117 minutes
Language: Dari, Pashto, and Arabic (with English subtitles)

A dozen years after his Oscar-nominated "Iraq in Fragments," American documentarian James Longley delivers a sweeping, profoundly compassionate group portrait of Afghan students and teachers still weathering national turbulence.The film follows students and teachers at a school in an old neighborhood of Kabul that is slowly rebuilding from past conflicts. Interweaving the modern history of Afghanistan with present-day portraits, the film offers an intimate and nuanced vision of a society living in the shadow of war.

 

Azmaish

3 April 2020 Azmaish: a Journey through the Subcontinent

Director: Sabiha Sumar
Duration: 85 minutes
Language: Urdu, Hindi, and English (with English subtitles)

In 1947, Pakistan and India were divided. Pakistan chose the Islamic way and India chose the secular way. In this film, Sabiha Sumar sets off on a journey to uncover the complex relationship between the two countries, focusing on the religious fundamentalism present in each country.

 

SarojDutta

10 April 2020 S.D.: Saroj Dutta and his Times

Director: Kasturi Basu & Mitali Biswas
Duration: 115 minutes
Language: Bangla and English (with English subtitles)

A communist poet, a secret State killing, an attempted revolution sparked in the village of Naxalbari at the Himalayan foothills. Setting out to tell the story of the slain revolutionary Saroj Dutta (S.D.), the film gets drawn into a vortex of his tumultuous times, tracing turns and twists of the communist movement in India over three decades. A search by present-generation filmmakers, the film uses personal and public historical archives and conversations with rebels of the Naxalbari rebellion.

 

HerHimOther

17 April 2020 Her. Him. The Other

Director: Prasanna Vithanage, Vimukthi Jayasundara, & Asoka Handagama
Duration: 114 minutes
Language: Sinhala and Tamil (with English subtitles)

This film, divided into three segments each written and directed by a different director, tells stories related to post-war and ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka.

All showings are free and open to the public.

For any inquiries, contact Jef Pierce, South Asian Studies Librarian (jfpierce@upenn.edu or 215.898.7146). 

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