film festivals

Genre-bending cinema at the Experimenta film festival in Bengaluru

Kamal Swaroop’s ‘Pushkar Puran’ and Uday Shankar’s ‘Kalpana’ are among the 70 titles selected for the event.

The 10th edition of Experimenta, a biennial international festival for experimental moving image art, will be held at the Goethe-Institut Max Mueller Bhavan in Bengaluru from today until December 3. A collaborative effort between Goethe-Institut, Srishti School of Art, Design and Technology, Asia Europe Foundation and Prohelvetia-Swiss Arts Council, the festival will feature more than 70 contemporary and historical films.

Experimenta, which was founded by Shai Heredia, will open with the Algerian film Monangambreee (1969) directed by Sarah Moldoror and the Mozambican film Mueda, Memoria E Massacre (1979) by Ruy Guerra. The films chronicle Africa’s resistance against Portuguese colonialism. The opening section has been curated German academic Nicole Wolf.

The festival will also feature Kamal Swaroop’s Pushkar Puran, based on the annual Puskar festival and Uday Shankar’s Kalpana (1948), which was recently restored as part of Martin Scorsese’s World Cinema Project. Kalpana is a semi-autobiographical dance-drama about a young performer’s dream of setting up a dance academy. The film has been out of circulation for years, and has been rarely screened.

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The international competition section features 19 films that were selected from more than 600 submissions from across the world, including Indonesia, Philippines, Canada, Germany, Argentina, Thailand, Mexico, France, the US and India. These include Prantik Basu’s Sakhisona, Kabir Mehta’s Sadhu In Bombay, Nundrisha Wakhloo’s Chaaya and Sohrab Hura’s Sweet Life.

Experimenta will also profile five artists, including Filipino artist Kidlat Tahimik and American Los Angeles experimental filmmaker Chick Strand. Tahimik, a key figure of the Philippine New Wave, will premiere his most recent work at the festival, Balikbayan, which has been in the works since 1979.

The festival will close with Argentinian filmmaker Fernando Birri’s epic experimental feature ORG (1979). Nearly three hours long, ORG is based on Birri’s experience of exile in Italy, which he describes as “among the most terrible moments” of his life. The movie features more than 26,000 cuts and some 700 audio tracks.

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