Thinking cinema buffs should head to The Guild where award-winning movies by New Delhi based filmmaker Iram Ghufran and Japanese filmmaker Yuki Okimura will be screened as part of an event curated by Gitanjali Dang that explores the nature of misrepresentation in translation.
Ghufran’s 2011 film, There is Something in the Air (29 min) delves on dream narratives, and accounts of spiritual possession as experienced by women ‘petitioners’ at the shrine of a Sufi saint in north India. Here, the drama unfolds via dreams, and appearances of djinns and disappearances of women. The shrine becomes a space of expression of longing and transgression. Despite being Ghufran’s first documentary, it won the National Film Award for Best Direction and Best Editing.
Okimura’s 2011 film, titled Jun Yang: A Short Lecture on Forgetting and Remembering, (27.39 min) indirectly documents an artist talk by Chinese-Austrian artist Jun Yang by trimming away Yang’s appearance and English speech, and showing only Japanese interpreter Noriko Kobayashi at work. As revealed by the talk, Yang’s work is about uncertainty of self in the state of translation. The last scene shows how the translation work’s structure collapses, finally.
Shalini Sawhney, director of The Guild, says, “The innovative and sensitive way that Iram has raised issues related to women; their insanity or eccentricities, their abuses, family stories/fictions and faith and healing, caught our attention. The film invites and challenges viewers’ assumptions about social and family narratives implicit in these narratives.” She assures that such on-the-edge films and videos will continue to be part of The Guild’s roster.
She adds that in the past, the gallery showcased edgy, innovative films, and videos such as Categorical Imperitives (films and videos by nine artists from Middle East), Enormous Eyes (works of six Korean artists, who showed their works on iPads on the walls of the gallery) and VAF at The Guild (Video and Animation Festival), comprising video and animation films by a number of artists.
Filmmaker Iram Ghufran says her film revolves around the periphery of sanity: “I am interested in the state of madness and how we negotiate logical reasoning with inexplicable events and episodes around us. I was curious to understand how science and faith look at each other — is it suspicion, negation, acknowledgement?”
For the film, Ghufran collected ghost stories and accounts of spiritual possession. “I spoke to numerous people with mental health problems; I read a lot on madness, the history of psychiatry and ghost stories. I spoke to mental health care professionals and read medical literature, visited shrines, and spoke to spiritual healers,” she explains.