Deutsche Version

Tales From Planet Kolkata

Director: Ruchir Joshi    → show biography   
Country: India
Year: 1993
Synopsis: Part fiction, part spoof, part essay, part documentary, the film weaves together disparate strands: a critique of western media’s construction, from the 1960s to the 1990s, of Kolkata as ‘the black hole’ and ‘the worst place in the world’; an ‘elegy’ to Deepak Majumdar, one of Kolkata’s great intellectual mavericks, a teacher and friend to Joshi and many others, who died while the film was being made; and the images and song of a patua – a traditional Bengali scroll-painter. Starting with a variation on the opening of APOCALYPSE NOW, moving through the performance-interpretations of the scroll-painter, the filmmaker himself, and an African-American video-artist from New York, the film asks questions about one’s sense of place and belonging, about the links between memory and image, and about the permanence and transience of this thing we call ‘culture.’ While referring to the reconstruction of Kolkata in the Hollywood production of CITY OF JOY, (the film based on Dominique Lapierre’s bestseller) or weaving a fantasy about getting Jack Nicholson to act as Majumdar in a film on the latter’s life, the film asks: can ‘the worst place in the world’ be anywhere else but in your eyes and your heart? (Forum Expanded 2019)
Language: Bengalisch, English, Hindi
Forum participation year: 2019

Technical Attributes

Format: 16mm
Rental status: rental upon request
Running time (minutes): 38
Color: color
Sound: Silent
Frames per second: 24
Weight: 1.9
Number of reels: 2