PeaceWorks has a large collection of films from all over the world, ranging from documentaries to animated shorts, which are available for viewing on the premises, and as a resource for students and teachers. Over the years these films have been taken to over sixty schools, screened for the students and then followed up with a discussion about the issues represented and the responses they prompt from the young minds. Sometimes such sessions have also been organized for teachers as a slightly unusual and refreshing way of approaching their thoughts on how to sensitize their students on issues such as race, caste, class, religion and learning to live with difference.
These are also available for screening on request either at the The Seagull Foundation for the Arts or at other institutions including schools and colleges. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
FILMS FOR PEACEWORKS PROGRAMME
War and Peace (Jung aur Aman)
Dir. Anand Patwardhan Duration : 136 minutes
Filmed over three tumultuous years in India, Pakistan, Japan and the USA following nuclear tests in the Indian sub-continent – WAR & PEACE / JANG AUR AMAN is an epic documentary journey of peace activism in the face of global militarism and war.
The film is framed by the murder of Mahatma Gandhi in 1948, an act whose portent and poignancy remains undiminished half a century later. For the filmmaker, whose family was immersed in the non-violent Gandhian movement, the sub-continent’s trajectory towards unabashed militarism is explored with sorrow, though the film captures stories of resistance along the way. Amongst these is a visit to the “enemy country” of Pakistan, where contrary to expectations, Indian delegates are showered by affection not only by their counterparts in the peace movement but by uninitiated common folk.
The film moves on to examine the costs being extracted from citizens in the name of national security. From the plight of residents living near the nuclear test site to the horrendous effects of uranium mining on local indigenous populations, it becomes abundantly clear that, contrary to a myth first created by the U.S.A, there is no such thing as the “peaceful Atom”.
WAR & PEACE / JANG AUR AMAN slips seamlessly from a description of home made jingoism to focus on how an aggressive United States has become a role model, its doctrine of “Might is Right” only too well-absorbed by aspiring elites of the developing world. As we enter the 21st century, war has become perennial, enemies are re-invented and economies are inextricably tied to the production and sale of weapons. In the moral wastelands of the world memories of Gandhi seem like a mirage that never was, created by our thirst for peace and our very distance from it.
Boy in the Branch
Dir: Lalit Vachani Duration : 25 minutes
In early 1993, Lalit Vachani and the Wide Eye Film team completed a documentary film, The Boy in the Branch, for Channel 4 Television, U.K. Set at the headquarters of the RSS in Nagpur, the film is about the indoctrination of young Hindu boys by a branch of the RSS, the foremost Hindu fundamentalist organization in India .
The Men in the Tree
Dir. Lalit Vachani Duration: 98 minutes
In early 1993, Lalit Vachani and the Wide Eye Film team completed a documentary film, The Boy in the Branch, for Channel 4 Television, U.K. Set at the headquarters of the RSS in Nagpur, the film was about the indoctrination of young Hindu boys by a branch of the RSS, the foremost Hindu fundamentalist organization in India. Eight years later, Vachani returned to Nagpur to meet the characters from his earlier film.
At one level, this is a film about memory. It is a documentary in the form of a personal revisit where a filmmaker returns to the issues, the locations and the subjects of an earlier film. At another level, The Men in the Tree is a political documentary on the RSS and Hindu fundamentalism. It is about some of the individuals, the stories and the myths, the buildings and the branches that enable the growth of the RSS and its Hindutva ideology.
The War Game
Dir. Peter Watkins Duration: 45 minutes
This documentary film is a simulated documentary on nuclear strike in Britain. It is a powerful corrective on all talk of war, specially nuclear war.
Night and Fog
Dir: Alain Renais Duration : 30 minutes
This film is a lyrical documentary on Nazism, Jews and concentration camps. It is one of the most powerful films made on the Holocaust.
Duration : 30 minutes
This is a BBC assignment film on French Jews and their condition. It specifically focuses on the behaviour of the Gendarmerie during the German occupation of France
Dir: Jiri Trnka Duration : 18 minutes
This is a powerful animation film that depicts the travails of a dissenting artist in a hostile environment. This was Trinka’s last and possibly greatest film.
Dir: Pepe Danquart Duration: 15 minutes
A short award winning film on racism and the discriminatory attitude that a young black man in Germany faced and the novel manner with which he dealt with the situation.
Dir: Nina Shorina Duration 12 minutes
A puppet and animation film that is a wry comic allegory on perestoika: although the door to an apartment block has finally opened, its inhabitants continue to use every possible means of entry and exit rather than accept the new promise of freedom.
A Season Outside
Dir : Amar Kanwar Duration : 30 minutes
A compelling film about borders and choosing a path towards tolerance. The film begins its exploration at the Wagah border, an outpost where every evening people are drawn to a thin white line… and probably anyone in the eye of a conflict could find himself here.
Dir : Kevin Rafferty Duration : 88 minutes
A unique documentary on the Cold War paranoia over the Bomb. The film captures the Atomic Age and the resulting Cold War in a way that is informative yet entertaining, horrific yet hilarious.
Darkness Light Darkness
Dir : Jan Svankmajer Duration : 7 minutes
This celebrated short film is a potent allegory of Svankmajer’s life in Eastern Europe. The film shows how a man literally constructs himself within the confines of a very small room.
The Emperor’s Nightingale
Dir : Jiri Trinka Duration : 76 minutes
This beautiful animation film is based on the classic tale by Hans Christian Andersen. It tells the story of a lonely young boy who lives in a house full of toys and too many rules – and not nearly enough love or affection. In a feverish dream, his toys come to life and act out the story of the young Emperor of China who is liberated from the rules and rituals of the palace by the beauty of a nightingale’s song. Both the boy and the Emperor learn the value of truth, freedom and friendship.
Matir Moyna ( The Clay Bird)
Dir : Tareque Masud Duration : 89 minutes
This internationally acclaimed film is set against the backdrop of the turbulent period of the late 60’s, leading to Bangladesh’s independence from Pakistan. ‘The Clay Bird’ tells the story of a family torn apart by religion and war. Touching upon themes of religious tolerance, cultural diversity and the complexity of Islam, the film has universal relevance in a crisis ridden world.
The film is in Bengali with English subtitles
Shadows of Freedom
Dir : Sabina Kidwai Duration : 30 minutes
The documentary traces the history of three women in a Muslim family in India and how the issues of identity and gender conflicts with their lives and that of their family. The story is narrated by the youngest woman (Sabina Kidwai) and is about her paternal grandmother Begum Anees Kidwai and her mother Amina Kidwai. The film while exploring the diversity of views and lives of these women also talks about the destruction of this diversity. It also interweaves into the narrative the perspective of a Muslim family that opted to stay back after Partition of India in 1947. The references to history are constructed around the death of the narrator’s paternal grandfather in1947 and the mysteries that surround his death.
Crossing the Lines: Kashmir, India, Pakistan
Dir : Pervez Hoodbhoy and Zia Mian Duration : 45 minutes
After four wars, Kashmiris and their land are divided between Pakistan and India, and the issue of Kashmir continues to divide the two nations. The tragedy of the conflict is also the tragedy of nationalism and miscommunication: each side tells the story of the injustice and violence of the other, and feels only the suffering of their own. This path-breaking independent documentary film, made in Pakistan, rejects the national ambitions of Kashmiris, Pakistanis and Indians alike, and offers a vision of a shared future for all of South Asia built on a common humanity.
In the Beginning: Origins of the People of India
Dir : Kamalini Sengupta Duration :
This is the first film of the Banyan Tree series and is about the origins of the people of India. The film depicts the tectonic movement of the Indian sub-continent, the emergence of anatomically modern humans, cave people, the Indus Valley Civilization, the influx of foreigners as settlers, preachers, aggressors, raiders and rulers, and criss-crossing migrations within India. Some common misconceptions are corrected. Coverage of Dholavira, Nagaland, Manipur, Sanghol, Delhi, Kancheepuram and the Todas and Kotas of the Nilgiris in Tamil Nadu, gives an idea of the complexity and diversity of the Indian people.
The Word (Language )
Dir: Kamalini Sengupta Duration :
The second film in the Banyan Tree series, The Word gives information about the five language families of India and their growth. The relationship and commonalities between the two major families – Indo-Aryan and Dravidian – are explored, together with Munda, Tibeto-Burman and Andamanese. Some migratory movements have been traced using linguistic evidence. Contentious areas, such as the choice of an official language after Independence, the politicization of the Hindi-Urdu, Hindi-Dravidian relationships, and the struggle inherent in language empowerment are also examined.
The Burmese Harp
Dir : Kon Ichikawa Duration : 116 minutes
The Burmese Harp is a film which even while dealing with war and all its senseless tragedy, refuses to cheapen life and maintains the importance of death. The film takes place at the end of WWII in the country of Burma where a group of Japanese soldiers learn of their nation’s surrender and are sent to a POW camp in the town of Mudon. spiritual life in Burma. The film was nominated for an Academy Award for the best foreign language film in 1956.
Dir: Michael Radford Duration: 113 minutes
1984 is a wonderful adaptation of George Orwell’s novel of the same title. It flawlessly communicates the despair and hopelessness of the novel. The darker sides of human nature are perfectly and thoroughly disturbingly captured in this film. The film’s set and cinematography solidifies the paranoia of what might happen (and appears to be happening) to the world if we are not very careful of who we let in charge of it..
Bowling for Columbine
Dir: Michael Moore Duration: 120 mins
Michael Moore asks some serious questions as he probes the depths of America’s trigger-happy gun culture in this insightful and amusing documentary. This exploration into America’s obsession with guns is disarmingly humorous but also asks challenging questions and fearlessly seeks responsible parties, making the film an effective call for more social awareness as well.
Dir: Michael Moore Duration : 110 mins.
This award winning documentary is a searing examination of the Bush administration’s action in the wake of the tragic events of 9/11. The documentary’s scathing attack on the war in Iraq and George W. Bush’s presidency is informative, provocative, frightening, compelling, funny, manipulative and above all, entertaining