B.  Timelessness in the Landscape

Old Man River

INDIA (Assam) / 2012 / English, Assamese, Mising / Color / DCP / 52 min

Director, Script, Photography: Gautam Bora
Editing, Graphics: Bikash Dutta
Producer: Rajiv Mehrotra
Production: Public Service Broadcasting Trust; Films Division of India
Source: Gautam Bora

Centenarian Kurrak Pegu’s life has been inseparable from the ancient river Brahmaputra. He has long bred cows and buffalo on grassy islands and riverbeds, farmed crops on marshlands, and sustained his growing family of children and grandchildren. Where floods, heavy rains, and erosion have taken lives, the grand river has always given life. Meanwhile, government efforts in flood control have not been effective and the changing climate has proven unpredictable. Nature cannot be controlled by forces of this world, the old man says. One stunning scene follows a herd of buffalo swimming for hours in the wild waters to reach a new feeding destination.

What the Fields Remember

INDIA (Assam) / 2012 / Bengali, English / Color / DCP / 52 min

Director, Script: Subasri Krishnan
Photography, Editing: Amit Mahanti
Producer: Rajiv Mehrotra
Source: Subasri Krishnan

From 9 am to 3 pm on February 18th, 1983, more than 2,000 Bengali-speaking Muslims were killed in the town of Nellie and its surrounding villages in Assam. People’s homes were burnt down and their fields destroyed. Most of those who died were old people, women and children. To date, the Nellie massacre remains on the margins of India’s official history, and has been virtually wiped from the nation’s collective memory. This film revisits the massacre three decades later. From the survivors’ retelling of the event, and their struggles of coping with loss and memories that refuse to fade, the film investigates how physical spaces that witnessed the violence continue to mark people’s relationship to history and memory.