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Jascribble’s Cultural Catchup. September 11, 2007

Posted by jasmingle in Uncategorized.
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So I need to catch up on a few things. Having been caught between writing anxiety, isolation and also joy at events and opportunities, it hasn’t exactly been consistant. So I’ll have to break it down:

Film: I for India, the ICA

I never know what to expect from films like this, but conceptually it was great, cinematically unpretentious, and warming. Shot by one of the daughters, it is the story of a families’ migration to England from India, their correspondance with their family back home, re-integration and displacement, I really felt like I had one foot in either place and was slowly being pulled apart like a chicken wishbone. The efforts to stay in contact between Yash and his family come across as remarkable- acknowledging the two dimensionality of letters and scratchy phone conversations and accepting nothing less than better quality voices on a tape, real moving pictures of growing family, changing seasons. Yash buys two sets of filming equipment, one for his family, and one to send home so that every few months, news arrives, buffetted by mail, but still there.

Present day interview footage of England, India, and the family intercut with the crackly tape correspondance, forcing you to remember that the people in the old footage are alive, continuing to exist in their lives. It was slightly bizarre and jolting to watch their journey: itching to leave India, awkward in openly racist England, and then, later, too Anglicised to fit properly in India again, like a shoe worn so long by someone else it doesn’t fit your feet anymore.  Their desire to love India again was difficult- I could see, especially with the daughters, that they connected with their family but had become so accustomed to social British convention that it was difficult to assimilate comfortably beyond curiosity.

The director made some odd decisons in terms of intimacy and her presence in the story, insisting on always being behind the camera even in moments of complete heartwrenching sadness. As one of the sisters, now adult, boards a plane to live in Australia, the family breaks down after a short period of barely- maintained composure. I didn’t want to be there, in that moment, but I think it was important to document it to provide a tangible, present day impression of how hard it can be to leave your family- as the old footage was piecemeal and, having been made for family and not for the public, could not show us that moment. All in all though, in retrospect it was brilliant and refreshing in comparison to the next event………………..

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