Thursday 26 March, 18:00-21:00, Birkbeck Cinema 

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Is This Just a Story? Celebrating the Yugantar Film Collective

This interdisciplinary public screening and symposium, featuring academic and non-academic speakers, archivists and filmmakers, addresses the question of feminist collective filmmaking practices as living archive. 

The event will centre on the screening of recently restored prints of films made in the 1980s by the Yugantar Film Collective, one of whose founders, Deepa Dhanraj, will be present for the discussion, along with researcher Nicole Wolf (Goldsmiths) and Markus Ruff/Stefanie Schulte Strathaus of the Berlin Arsenal. These films are screened in the context of curatorial debates around the ‘living archive’ and the question of what it means to ‘restore’ a feminist film collective in the present, and to ‘re-present’ this kind of work to a contemporary audience. As part of the conversation, the event will explore the politics of the archive, how women’s voices from a non-mainstream positionality are archived and preserved, as well as how this collective developed its thinking and filmmaking practice in dialogue with the emerging women’s movement in India and as a form of consciousness raising.

A collaboration between Essay Film Festival and Arsenal Institute for Film and Video Art in Berlin, with support from Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities, Goethe-Institut London, and CHASE Doctoral Training Partnership.


Tobacco Embers (Tambaku Chaakila Oob Ali), Yugantar Film Collective, India, 1982, DCP, Marathi with English subtitles, 25 minutes

Is This Just a Story? (Idhi Katha Matramena), Yugantar Film Collective, India, 1983, DCP, Telugu with English subtitles, 25 minutes

Maid Servant (Molkarin), Yugantar Film Collective, India, 1981, DCP, Marathi with English subtitles, 25 minutes

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