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High Museum to Present 7th Annual Film Festival of India
“Pather Panchali” is Satyajit Ray’s loosely structured drama that centers on a family of diverse characters.

ATLANTA, GA.- The High Museum of Art will present the 7th annual Film Festival of India from August 21 through September 12. This year’s festival will include 12 films, all chosen as a salute to India ’s National Film Development Corporation. The High’s curator of media arts Linda Dubler partnered with Ani Agnihotri, director of the Indo-American Film Society, to choose the films represented this year.

The Film Festival of India opens Friday, August 21, with “Dance of the Wind.” Director Rajan Khosa’s first feature centers on Pallavi, a singer of classical Hindustani music who is unable to perform after the death of her mother. Winner of the 1997 Audience Award at the London Film Festival, Geoff Andrew describes this film as a “deceptively simple piece of work, as elegant, sensuous and resonant as the lovely sounds heard throughout.” This film is in Hindi with subtitles.

On Saturday, August 22, “Let’s Go to America ,” directed by Piyush Jha, centers on three college kids bred on Western pop culture who are obsessed with migrating to America and perpetually dream up weird schemes to get there. Many of their plans lead to them trapped in hilarious situations that may cause them to see the American dream as an illusion. This film is in Hindi with subtitles.

Also on Saturday, August 22, “The Stranger” is Satyajit Ray’s last film. An amalgam of family drama and mystery, and a commentary on Indian society, this film follows middle-class housewife Anila, who receives a letter from a man claiming to be her uncle. The story of a woman torn between familial impulses and doubts, this film “shows all the virtues of a master artist in full maturity.” This film is in Bengali and English with subtitles.

Showing on Sunday, August 23, “The Rule” is a drama by J. Mahendran that is striking in its realism and visual beauty. Set in a small town in a Chettinad community, the film centers on a family who, though scandalized by neighbors, takes in a young dancer and her mother, both of whom have fallen on hard times. This film is in Tamil with subtitles.

“Pather Panchali” on Friday, August 28, is Satyajit Ray’s loosely structured drama that centers on a family of diverse characters. Acknowledged as a masterpiece of humanist cinema, this film—the first chapter in Ray’s “Apu Trilogy”—“remains in the mind of the moviegoer as a promise of what film can be.” This film was preserved by the Satyajit Ray Preservation Project at the Academy Film Archive. Print courtesy of the Satyajit Ray Film and Study Collection at the Academy Film Archive. This film is in Bengali with subtitles.

Showing Saturday, August 29, “The Mourner” is a stunningly photographed drama set in rural Rajasthan that introduces viewers to the Indian tradition of professional mourners—women who are paid to theatrically lament at funeral rites. The story follows a woman who, after a life of hardship, is unable to cry a single tear. Director Kalpana Lajmi combines lush Bollywood style with pointed social commentary, creating a memorable film. This film is in Hindi with subtitles.

Also playing Saturday, August 29, is “Reaching Silence,” directed by Jahar Kanugo. The film follows 30-year-old Sarit, who returns to Bengal to search for peace and silence. But his obsession with silence shatters this fragile peace and all he can do is escape—right back to Delhi . This film is in Bengali with subtitles.

On Sunday, August 30, “Five by Four” is a film from celebrated writer Roopa Swaminathan. Playing with alternative forms of storytelling, this English-language debut film is the lively tale of a close-knit gang of five women, all intelligent and very aware. Swaminathan structures the film through four episodic stories that show how interlinked the women’s lives become over ten years of friendship. This film is in English.

On Friday, September 11, “Salaam Bombay” is the much-acclaimed film by Mira Nair that captures the teeming streets of Bombay and the lives of its forgotten children. Praised by Leslie Camhi in the Village Voice for “the toughness and vitality” of its “perfect” cast, the film won the Audience Award at the 1988 Cannes Film Festival. This film is in Hindi and English with subtitles.

Showing Saturday, September 12, “Meeting a Milestone” is a documentary by Goutam Ghose that captures the magic of Ustad Bismillah Khan’s music. The film explores his instrument, the shehnai, his passions and his devotions to his hometown of Benaras. This film is in Urdu-Hindi with subtitles.

Also showing on Saturday, September 12, is “Conflict,” a darkly comedic drama about the persistence of caste and the different ways its inequities are viewed by rural folks and urban sophisticates. Using a film-within-a-film structure, director Shyam Benegal tells the story of a real-life conflict and of a movie crew who have arrived on location to create a fictionalized version of the events. The film won India ’s National Film Award for Best Film. This film is in Hindi with subtitles.

Concluding the Film Festival of India on Sunday, September 13, is K. M. Madhusudhanan’s award-winning film “Bioscope,” a charming look at India’s silent film era. The film tells of Diwakaran, who in the early 20th century purchases a bioscope film projector and tours local villages showing his films. The story is based on a real figure, Varunni Joseph, who ran bioscope shows in Kerala in 1907. This film is in Malayalam with subtitles.

High Museum of Art | India | Atlanta | Rajan Khosa | J. Mahendran | Bengali | Hindi |

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