THE RADICAL POWER OF FEMINIST FRIENDSHIPS: YUGANTAR COLLECTIVE AT THE ESSAY FILM FESIVAL

Screening the Yugantar Collective at the Essay Film Festival was a project nearly 5 years in the making. After a turbulent year for all, three recently restored films finally made their UK debut in March under the title Is This Just a Story? Celebrating the Yugantar Collective. Throughout the week,I followed the conversation around Yugantar at the festival, reading, listening and sharing resources on India’s first feminist film collective. Alongside the films, the festival hosted a number of discussions which explored wider themes such as feminist activism, archive politics and the essay film as a form. A few weeks later, the festival’s blog seems a suitable home to record my experience.

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Is This Just a Story? Celebrating the Yugantar Film Collective: An Introduction

In 1975, Indira Gandhi’s Government imposed a state of emergency suspending India’s democratic rights. For almost two years, the country witnessed rigorous restrictions of civil liberties including censorship, political persecution and mass sterilisation. After the Janata Government took office in 1977, the country saw a reassertion of democracy in which the women’s movement was a key effort. This programme presents three recently restored films by India’s first feminist film collective. Founded in Bangalore in 1980, Deepa Dhanraj, Abha Bhaiya, Navroze Contractor and Meera Rao created four pioneering films during this time of radical political transformation:

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RE-WRITING LOVE, MAKING A FILM

An intimate diary on the subject of ‘My Mexican Bretzel’ (Nuria Giménez Lorang, 2019)

01/02/2021

At which point in time does my already abandoned diary become the place to dump work ideas? Today I am recovering it to record my experience of viewing Nuria Giménez Lorang’s award-winning My Mexican Bretzel (2019), as well as her participation at The Essay Film Festival 2021. Just as the film is constructed around the intimate diary of Vivian Barrett – a Swiss housewife of a well-of social class, I thought it appropriate to write my curatorial note in a similar form.

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SESSION FIFTEEN: DRYLONGSO

Thursday 2 April, 6.00, Close Up Cinema

Booking Link

16mm Screening of the recently released debut film by Cauleen Smith

Film: Drylongso
Cauleen Smith, 1998, 87 min, 16mm

Seeing Cauleen Smith‘s debut feature (and only full length fiction film to date) today offers audiences a snapshot into both a community and a specific moment in time. Set in Oakland, California, the film centres around a young African American woman navigating her responsibilities as a breadwinner, daughter and student whilst coming to terms with the threat of violence befalling young men in her community. The film captures real social issues being faced by the working class African American community and the vibrant Afrocentric art scene whilst, through the central character Pica, Drylongso can be seen as a nuanced coming of age tale. The recent restoration has allowed the film to find a new audience and in doing so can now be seen to connect to both the celebrated 90’s independent cinema boom alongside the iconic works of African American cinema made in this period.

Supported by the Arts Council England

Call for proposals: The Essay Film Festival: Research, Critique, Practice

The Essay Film Festival: Research, Critique, Practice

A call for proposals for a student-led symposium reflecting on EFF 2020

As part of its new collaborative partnership with CHASE, the Essay Film Festival is inviting proposals from doctoral students for a student-led symposium exploring essayistic forms and their relationship to academic research, social critique and artistic practice.

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