Thursday, November 10, 2005

The Second Day: Outsider Films

“Which Way is East” directed by Lynne Sachs(1994) - This film explores the worst fear in many of the American participants' minds. What if they come to this place to try to understand it, and realize it is too deep, too large and too ancient for them to understand on any level? What if they fail to make meaningful films because of this? Sachs goes to India on a Fulbright grant to make a film. But what we saw in the scenes we watched was that she was very much outside the subject. The only way she infiltrates the scene, or shows herself as actually being there, instead of like a ghost filming, is that her bright white daughter runs into the frame sometimes. The film is full of patient scenes - shots that show she is trying to understand - but on the surface she sees endless tasks and seemingly futile and meaningless traditions: Sweeping of dirt outside, washing clothes in the river, drawing on a floor and wiping it away (like a mandala), and filling a ditch with dirt one plate at a time carried on a woman’s head. What happens is a digging down to the core of the reality of a people, without understanding the tradition or mentality; she sees the perseverance of life. Does she succeed in avoiding falling into the trap of exoticizing these people? Arguably, if only by the way that she humbles herself towards them and their ancient habits.


Post a Comment

<< Home