Berlin’s Forum Expanded adds two films linked to India
The Berlinale ‘Forum Expanded’ section explores cinema in non-traditional formats. This year it features ‘Camera Ka Darr’ a 29 min experimental short about Mumbai’s relationship with the moving image and Bengali film ‘Aapothkalin Trikalika’ that explores manifestation of divine intervention in today’s times of constant socio-political turmoil.
Forum Expanded was launched in 2006. Its aim is to add new cinematic forms related to film, video, installation and performative works on varying themes and in multiple venues to provide a critical perspective and an expanded sense of cinematography. The 2017 Forum Expanded selection includes 44 artistic works that have been invited from a total of 21 countries, including 28 films of various lengths, 15 installations and a performance. Two films that relate to India have found a place in this section.
Ashish Avikunthak’s ‘Aapothkalin Trikalika’ (The Kali of Emergency)
This marks the first feature-length fiction film from India to be selected in this section. The film co-produced by Kristina Konrad and weltfilm Berlin, is in Bengali. It explores the manifestation of divine intervention in today’s times of constant socio-political change through the awe-inspiring incarnations of Goddess Kali and her celestial avatars. As a metaphysical contemplation of divine intervention in times of perpetual emergencies, the film raises questions. How do the Gods and Goddess act in the volatility of the contemporary world? If they walk on earth as men and women, how do they endure the chaos of modernity?
Director Ashish Avikunthak (left), named Future Greats 2014 by Art Review, has been making films for the past 20 years which have screened worldwide in film festivals, galleries and museums, including the Tate Modern, London; Centre George Pompidou, Paris; Taipei Biennial 2012; Shanghai Biennial 2014; Pacific Film Archive, Berkeley, along with London, Locarno, Rotterdam, and Berlin film festivals. Retrospectives of his work have also been held at multiple art centers and academic institutions worldwide. Having previously taught at Yale, he is currently Assistant Professor for Film/Media at Harrington School of Communication, University of Rhode Island. He has a PhD in Cultural and Social Anthropology from Stanford University.
German director Bernd Lützeler’s ‘Camera Ka Darr’ (Camera Threat)
Set in the dreary nooks of Mumbai’s film industry, stuck between star-cult, superstition and the daily gridlock, the film looks at the ambivalent and sometimes paranoid relationship that this film city has with the moving image itself. Seated on a casting couch, two actors are getting trapped in their impromptu conversations on the unwanted side effects of a world that no longer bothers to tell facts from fiction. It is an expanded multi-genre film within the constraints of the so-called ‘masala’ formula popularly known from Indian cinema.
Artist/filmmaker Bernd Lützeler(right) lives and works between Berlin and Mumbai. Known for his exploration of techniques of moving image production and presentation in relation with their form and perception. Loops, found footage and ‘jugaad’ (DIY) technologies are an integral part of his films and expanded cinema works. His trips to Mumbai have had a strong impact on his work that often looks into the aesthetics of popular Indian cinema and television within the urban context. His films have been shown at venues and festivals that include Centre Pompidou, Rotterdam Film Festival, San Francisco Cinematheque, Views from the Avant-Garde and many more. Bernd is an active member of the artist-run analogue filmlab LaborBerlin.