The IIHS Media Lab’s annual Urban Lens festival will be held online this year on account of the coronavirus pandemic. Between December 1 and 7, a selection of documentaries and features from India and the rest of the world will be streamed online for free.
The festival has been organised in association with the Goethe-Institut and the Danish Cultural Institute. The programme includes a package of films called ‘Works of Art are Landscapes of the Mind’, curated by filmmaker and editor Bina Paul. “The films move through ideas of memory and its erasure, secrets, discovery of each other and contemplations of death,” Paul said in a curatorial note.
The virtual edition includes master classes with directors Anjali Menon and Dibakar Banerjee. A panel on cinematography will be addressed by the female practitioners Fowzia Fathima, Maheen Mirza, Priya Seth and Savita Singh. Another panel on North-East cinema will see the participation of Bhaskar Hazarika, Haobam Paban Kumar, Rajni Basumatary, Wanphrang K Diengdoh and Yapangnaro Longkumer.
Here are the films that will be shown at Urban Lens this year.
Babenco – Tell Me When I Die Barbara Paz’s documentary focuses on the final years of Hector Babenco, the renowned Brazilian director of Pixote, Kiss of the Spider Woman and Carandiru.
Berlin is in Germany In Hannes Stohr’s 2001 feature, a convict is released from prison into a newly reunified Germany.
Cities on Speed: Cairo Garbage Italian garbage disposal operators are called in to deal with Cairo’s waste disposal nightmare in Mikala Krogh’s documentary from 2009.
Correspondencias The epistolary friendship between Portuguese poets Sophia de Mello Breyner Andresen and Jorge de Sena between the 1950s and 1970s has inspired Rita Gomes’s biopic.
Diamond Island Cambodian director Davy Chou’s 2016 feature explores migration and the wealth gap through the relationship between brothers.
Dream Land Through a real estate agent and her photographer boyfriend, Cambodian director Steve Chen excavates the ways in which modernisation has erased some memories and kept others alive.
Eeb Allay Ooo! In Prateek Vats’s award-winning absurdist comedy, a young man wears a monkey suit to scare away Delhi’s aggressive simians.
Erased, Ascent of the Invisible Ghassan Halwani’s Erased, Ascent of the Invisible combines documentary footage, performance and animation to explore disappearances during the Lebanese Civil War between 1975 and 1990.
Felicite In acclaimed Senegalese director Alain Gomis’s 2017 drama, a bar singer in Kinshasa goes on a trippy, music-filled tour of the city after her son has an accident.
Hun Hunshi Hunshilal Sanjiv Shah’s 1991 satire, which has been recently restored, is set in a fictitious country ruled by a despot and plagued by mosquitoes. An earnest scientist invents a vaccine, but then falls in love with a rebel.
Last Night I Saw You Smiling Kavich Neang’s documentary follows three families (including his own) that are in the process of moving out of a structure that faces demolition.
Olmo and the Seagull As the pregnant actor Olivia Corsini rehearses Anton Chekov’s play The Seagull with her partner Sergei Nicolai, the line between what is real and what is being performed is erased. The 2015 documentary has been directed by Petra Costa and Lea Glob.
Somewhere Nowhere In their lyrical essay film, Reema Kaur and Shashank Walia reveal how Delhi and Pune are experienced by its residents. Travelling through residential colonies, parks and monuments and restaurants and photo studios, the documentary presents vignettes of the modern urban experience – fraught and tender, cruel and hopeful.
Soufra Thomas Morgan’s documentary explores the struggles of an immigrant to set up a food truck in Beirut.
The Human Scale Andres Dalsgaard’s 2012 documentary examines global urbanisation patterns through conversations with Danish architect and professor Jan Gehl.
The Seasons in Quincy: Four Portraits of John Berger Tilda Swinton, Colin MacCabe, Christopher Roth and Bartek Dziadosz contribute a segment each to an unconventional portrait of art critic and writer John Berger. The backdrop is Quincy, the village in France where Berger lived in the 1960s.
Two Autumns in Wyszogrod A Soviet era-airplane that was excavated in 2015 near the Polish town Wyszogrod prompt filmmakers Ruchika Negi and Amit Mahanti to rummage through memories of World War II.
World Taxi Philip Majer’s documentary follows taxi drivers over a 24-hour-period in Bangkok, Pristina, Dakar, El Paso and Berlin.