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Countercurrents: India Today
Institute of Contemporary Arts
A woman stands amongst the waves at night. She's looking happy
The Coast, dir. Sohrab Hura, India 2020, 18 min.

A programme of experimental and visually arresting shorts from contemporary Indian directors. Immersing the viewer in their humid, equatorial landscapes to simultaneously convey the charm and menace of the natural world, these works are steeped in both ethereal matters and the sobering worldly crises specific to Modi’s India.

Hura’s films, The Coast and The Lost Head and the Bird, accompany corresponding photographic series, forming part of a wider project which explores the undercurrents of violence – religious, sexual, and caste-related – in contemporary India through imagery captured along the country’s coastline. Employing footage of religious Tamil festivities and Hura’s signature hyper-collage – a way of ‘vomiting out of my brain all the information that I’m constantly getting bombarded by’ – they envision inventive and disturbing metaphors for the ‘Modi wave.’

The observational shorts of Payal Kapadia, The Last Mango Before the Monsoon and And What is the Summer Saying, document village life on the outskirts of a Marathi jungle, both made prior to the director’s breakthrough A Night of Knowing Nothing (available to stream on Cinema 3), a chilling memoir providing a critique that resonates with the throughline of Hura’s work.

Where Hura flashes frantically with lucid, candescent imagery, Kapadia lingers and employs an umbrous palette, with the two artists taking differing approaches to portraying their moonlit surroundings and delivering their respective catharses. Both are however, acutely attuned to the choreographies of the natural world and make pointed interrogations of the role of the cameraperson, while providing considered documents of contemporary Indian life at a critical moment in the country’s political history.


The Coast, dir. Sohrab Hura, India 2020, 18 min.

The Lost Head and the Bird, dir. Sohrab Hura, India 2018, 10 min.

The Last Mango Before the Monsoon, dir. Payal Kapadia, India 2015, 19 min.

And What is the Summer Saying, dir. Payal Kapadia, India 2018, 23 min.

Due to unforeseen circumstances, the Q&A with Sohrab Hura following the screening has ben cancelled.
06:30 pm
Fri, 30 Jun 2023
Cinema 1

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