Screening of moving images

Date: 17th July 2011

Desire machine collective + Aparna Sharma


In a film screening session curated by Aparna Sharma and organized by desire machine collective under camera praxis, films by Rachel Davis and David MacDougall were projected. Aparna Sharma is an Assistant Professor, Department of World Arts and Cultures, University of California, Los Angeles. She is  a filmmaker and film theorist.

The screenings acted as a provocateur of discourses that moved around cinematic techniques and production of moving images. Rachel’s experimental film ‘We got old’ is an attempt to explore the interface between the camera and the body of the dancers. Camera is used not as a device to gaze upon its object but it rather communicates with the dancer. It is a poetic film shot in London and Hong Kong. Exploring a sense of nostalgia in the urban landscape, reconciling with memories – an acceptance of the passing of time.

In Davis’s another film ‘Gold’, two young gymnasts dance to drum and bass in their local gym. A magical and adrenaline-fuelled world, evoking the promise of freedom and the power of adrenaline of the early teenage years.

MacDougall in both the documentaries uses camera as a tool for observation. Unlike the subjective content of poetic documentary, or the rhetorical insistence of expositional documentary, observational documentaries tend to simply observe, allowing viewers to reach whatever conclusions they may deduce. The camera remains as unobtrusive as possible, mutely recording events as they happen.  In ‘Schoolspaces’ MacDougall has turned his attention to educational  institutions for children in India. The coeducational Rishi Valley School in Andhra Pradesh was founded on the educational principles espoused by Jiddu Krishnamurti, who stressed the importance of observing the world around us more calmly and simply, as if with fresh eyes.SchoolScapes’ was made in this spirit.

In ‘ Gandhi’s Children’,  MacDougall  films a shelter for children on the outskirts of New Delhi that provides food and accommodation for 350 boys. Some are orphans, others have been abandoned, still others have run away from home. About half are held under a court order, having been picked up from the streets for petty crimes. Living at the institution for several months, the filmmaker explores its routines and the varied experiences of several boys. Despite the harshness of their lives, many show remarkable strength of character, knowledge, and resilience.


Film screenings-

We got old– 2003 a film by Rachel Davis

Gold- 2004 a film by Rachel Davis

Schoolspaces– 2007 a film by David MacDougall

Gandhi’s Children– 2008 a film by David MacDougall


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