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South Asia Center, Newhouse present ‘Illuminating Oppression’ starting Jan. 24
South Asia Center, Newhouse present ‘Illuminating Oppression’ starting Jan. 24January 22, 2003Cynthia J. Moritzcjmoritz@syr.edu
On Jan. 24, Syracuse University’s South Asia Center and the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, in collaboration with Breakthrough, an international nonprofit organization, will launch “Illuminating Oppression: A Film Festival on Human Rights in South Asia.” The series will include dynamic feature films, documentaries and music videos by well-known South Asian directors addressing the South Asian diaspora and human rights and social justice issues in India, Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.
In recent years, South Asia has emerged as a region of great importance and interest to the general public in the United States. The region has also seen a burgeoning growth of talent in the area of feature and documentary filmmaking. “Illuminating Oppression” will bring many of these films to the United States for the first time.
Drawing on the expertise of various SU faculty members, including Newhouse professor and filmmaker Tula Goenka and anthropology professor and South Asia Center Director Susan Wadley, the festival will enrich scholarship in such fields as anthropology, sociology, history, geography, women’s studies, international relations, social work, film studies and communications. More importantly, it will inform viewers about important issues in the international arena, particularly in the strategically important region of South Asia, as well as deepen audience members’ understanding of domestic social issues such as religion, sexuality, globalization and human rights
The film schedule is as follows:
- Jan. 24, 5-7 p.m.“Evil Stalks the Land” (Gauhar Raza, India, 17 min)”Life on the Margin” (Arun Kumar, India, 34 min)”The Killing Terraces” (Dhruba Basnet, Nepal, 40 min)
These short documentaries review the impact of conflict, including the ethnic cleansing and Hindu-Muslim riots that took place in Gujarat in early 2002, caste massacres in Bihar and the Maoist insurgency in Nepal.
- Jan. 31, 5-7 p.m.“Backstage Boys: India’s Labour Goes Global” (Meera Dewan, India, 30 min)”In the Flesh” (Bishakha Datta, India, 53 min)
The first of these films chronicles the dreams and compulsions of Punjabi stowaways to Europe; the other follows the lives of three sex workers in India.
- Feb. 7, 5-6:30 p.m.“Paradise on the River of Hell” (Abir Bazaz and Meenu Gaur, India, 30 min)”Tell Them That the Tree They Had Planted Has Now Grown” (Ajay Raina, India, 55 min)
These two documentaries deal with history, memory and forgetting in current-day Kashmir.
- Feb. 14, 5-7 p.m.“Death on a Full Moon Day” (Prasanna Vithanage, Sri Lanka, 75 min)
This feature film explores religion, society and the devastations of war. Vithanage uses the story of an elderly farmer to represent the soul of a nation suffering from nearly 20 years of civil strife between the Sri Lankan state and Tamils living on the north end of the island.
- Feb. 21, 5-6:30 p.m.“Fiddlers on the Thatch” (Trisha Das, India, 30 min)”The Children We Sacrifice” (Grace Poore, USA, 61 min)
Both documentaries are about children. One deals with how children from impoverished backgrounds are given opportunities through classical music and the other confronts the myths and silences about incestuous sexual abuse of the girl child in South Asian communities.
- Feb. 22, 10-12:30 pm“A Sun Sets In” (Shahid Nadeem, Pakistan, 45 min)”North of 49″ (Dick Breyer, USA, 40 min)
Both films cover the plight of religious minorities. Nadeem’s film is a life sketch of Bishop John Joseph in Pakistan. This is also the venue for the premiere screening of Syracuse University professors Richard Breyer and David Coryell’s film on the burning of a Sikh Temple 30 miles north of Syracuse in the aftermath of 9/11. Screenings will be followed by a discussion with the directors.
- Feb. 22, 1:30-3:30 p.m.“Born to Die” (Usha Albuquerque, India, 30 min)”In the Name of Honour” (Hammad Ghaznavi, Pakistan, 18 min)”Women in Conflict” (Radhika Kaul Batra, India, 30 min)”Mann ke Manjeere -Rhythm of the Mind” (Sujit Sircar and Gary for Breakthrough. India, 5 min)”Babul – Father” (Prasoon Pandey for Breakthrough, India, 4 min)
The first three documentaries cover issues pertaining to violence against girls and women: female infanticide, women as civilian victims of terrorism and women’s potential for leadership in resolving conflict. They will be followed by two music videos about domestic violence. Screenings will be followed by a discussion with the directors.
- Feb. 22, 5- 8 p.m.“Dr. Ambedkar” (Jabbar Patel, India, 180 min)
Patel’s feature film tells the true story of the title character fighting against his “untouchable” status and for the rights of the millions of others forced into a miserable life by an accident of birth. Ambedkar attempted, during his 30 years in politics, to bring about social equality in India. The screening will be followed by a discussion with the director.
All screenings will take place in room 254 of Newhouse II and are free and open to the public. For more information contact the South Asia Center at 443-2553 or e-mail email@example.com