Documentary Voices: Anand Patwardhan

October 7, 14, 21, 22, 23, and 24 at Pacific Film Archive
Artist in Person, October 21–24

As part of the ongoing project Documentary Voices, which brings international documentary filmmakers to the Bay Area as resident artists at the Pacific Film Archive, we are pleased to present eight documentary features and two short works by activist filmmaker Anand Patwardhan, India's answer to Michael Moore. Patwardhan will deliver a special lecture on film and activism on October 21, and will also appear in person on October 22 and 23. Documentary Voices is made possible with the support of the National Endowment for the Arts and the Hollywood Foreign Press Association.

Patwardhan has called himself "a non-serious human being forced by circumstance to make serious films." He has been active for three decades in the fight for social justice, both in India and abroad; as a student in North America in the seventies and eighties, he protested against the Vietnam War and worked with Cesar Chavez. (Patwardhan received his M.A. in communications from McGill University in 1982.) With a keen eye and a wry voice, Patwardhan's films examine Indian and global realities-economic inequality, environmental devastation, and the challenges of this era of fundamentalism and nationalism. His films have found acclaim at festivals worldwide, but he has often been forced to fight Indian censors for the right to show them in his native country.

Some of Patwardhan's most powerful works investigate the intersection of religion, politics, and culture in contemporary India. In Memory of Friends is a thoughtful study of religious intolerance and the legacy of Bhagat Singh, a Sikh fighter for Indian independence. In the Name of God, a fascinating look at Hindu extremism and violence, is screened with the politically incisive musical short We Are Not Your Monkeys. Father, Son and Holy War considers of the roots of sectarian violence in India, offering a complex and often funny take on the relationship between religion and the cult of masculinity. Patwardhan's monumental masterwork War and Peace illuminates the perils of nuclear nationalism in South Asia and around the world with passion and dark humor.

Patwardhan is also an astute observer of economic and environmental issues and their human consequences. Bombay: Our City offers a heartbreaking glimpse into the lives of Bombay's slumdwellers, complemented by the short Occupation: Mill Worker. A Narmada Diary combines politics, ethnography, and environmentalism to document the devastation wrought by India's Sardar Sarovar dam project, as well as the courage of indigenous people fighting against it. Fishing: In the Sea of Greed is a powerful indictment of factory fishing and other "rape and run" industries, while the early work A Time to Rise is an eloquent document of Indian farmworkers' activism in Canada.

Screenings are held in the PFA Theater, located at 2575 Bancroft Way near Bowditch Street on the southern edge of the UC Berkeley campus. General admission is $8 for one program, $10 for double bills. There are reduced prices for members, students, seniors, children under 12, and persons with disabilities.

Click for series schedule. For further program and ticket information, phone (510) 642-1412.

Posted by admin on October 07, 2004