Life, Politics & Struggle

Films at Other Worlds Are Breathing

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Aftershocks: The Rough Guide to Democracy

India, 2003, 64 min
Director: Rakesh Sharma
Director’s Contact: actindia@vsnl.com

‘Aftershocks’ is about the transformation of the welfare state into an instrument of corporate governance. It examines the acquisition and displacement of two quake-affected villages for lignite mining and power generation. From the viewpoint of these two villages, the film probes the globalisation of economy and corporatisation of democracy from a unique local perspective.

Anjavva Nenu, Nene Anjavva

Anjavva is Me, I am Anjavva
India, 2003, 71 min
Director: Gautam Sonti
Producer: Gautam Sonti Films
Director’s Contact: sonti@vsnl.com

As a result of the 73rd Amendment to the Constitution, a substantial number of women have been in positions of governance at the Grama, Mandal (Block) and Zilla levels over the last ten years. To what extent have they been able to make a difference for politics, governance and women’s empowerment? This film sets out to document the experiences of a few elected women in the Telangana region of Andhra Pradesh. While we were not unaware that many of them are puppets in the hands of male members, we were surprised at the extent to which reservations had been systematically misused. The film examines three institutions that make it difficult for elected women to function as independent representatives of the people: caste, family and political parties. Through an ethnography of four villages, we look at the way in which power is controlled and misused in the home, community and outside world.

O Tempo de um Protesto

The Time Of Protest
Brazil, 2002, 20 min
Director: Carola Mittrany and Helena Klang
Producer: Hermanas Comunicacao Sociale Marketing Ltd.
Director’s Contact: carola@vivario.org.br

In August 2002 the former president of Bolivia, Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada, was victorious in an election against Evo Morales Ayma, a social leader and coca farmer. The people voted for Ayma, the Congress voted for Lozada. A year after the election, social revolts caused Lozada to renounce the presidency; the vice-president assumed his position and announced new elections. Morales rose as the new leader of the people.

This 20 minute documentary was produced a month after the elections when few could believe an indigenous leader had gotten so close to power. One of his demands? Free planting of coca, the millenary plant grown in the Andes from which cocaine is extracted. The film includes an exclusive interview with Evo Morales and Stanley Scharger, director of the Narcotics Division of the United States Embassy, as well as other Bolivian political and social personalities. Most important of all, it gives voice to the people.

Power: Feminine Gender

Ukraine, 2003, 23 min
Director: Nina Rudik and Vlad Gello
Source: Phoebe Schreiner
Source’s Contact: pschreiner@sorosny.org

The makers of the collage film, ‘Power: Feminine Gender’, assert that matriarchy is the natural form of social organization in the Ukraine, as women traditionally play a major role in villages, local government and business. Unfortunately, the political history of the second half of the 90s – especially with regards to election campaigns – leads us to make a sad conclusion: “female” political projects are used by the ruling class to evoke a semblance of the European style democracy and only serve to banish women to the periphery of political life.

The Shoeshine President

Brazil, 2003, 20 min
Director: Dylan Howitt, Jesse Sklair, Gibby Zobel
Producer: Xu Filmes
Director’s Contact: dylanhowitt@hotmail.com

It’s a beautiful story. Lula, a former shoeshine boy with little formal education, wins a landslide victory to become President of Brazil. Shooting from street level at the heart of the celebrations, ‘The Shoeshine President’ captures the heady atmosphere of history in the making. But the reality is harsh and mundane. With his hands tied by debt and international bank loans, will President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva be able to fulfill his promise to feed the 30 million people starving in his country? Shot in São Paulo, South America’s biggest city, the film asks ordinary and extraordinary Brazilians what they think: a street vendor, a teacher in a favela, a leader of the landless movement, a filmmaker, people in the streets and key members of Lula’s Workers Party, the PT. Hope for change is gigantic. But after a 22-year struggle, Lula tells the unprecedented crowds on the streets: “It has been easy. The difficult part starts now”.

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