[Reader-list] Wager on Cinema Film Screening (9th February 2018)

The Sarai Programme dak at sarai.net
Fri Feb 2 03:25:34 CST 2018

The Sarai Programme invites you to the ninth screening of the film series
titled, *The Wager on Cinema <http://sarai.net/tag/the-wager-on-cinema/>* :
Rahul Jain’s *Machines*

The respondents for this film are Prabhu Mohapatra, Shaunak Sen and Pallavi

*Date: 9 February, 2018Time: 5:30 PM (Tea will be served at 5:00 PM)Venue:
The Sarai Programme, Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, 29,
Rajpur Road, Civil Lines, Delhi – 110054.*

About *‘The Wager on Cinema’*–

How do we estimate the value, aesthetic force, and meaning of cinema today?
As media experience, technological change has transformed it beyond
recognition, its material forms altered by analog and digital video
formats, and the modes of circulating, viewing, accessing cinema and making
it have expanded exponentially. And yet, the dream and ambition of cinema
as we have known it has not dissipated, the desire to congregate audiences
to participate in a distinct world of experience, whether to excite, amuse,
to move or to solicit reflection and engagement, to bear witness and to

For us at Sarai, the wager on cinema carries high stakes. It means renewing
a pact with a bid to explore experience, to take film technique as a
vehicle of the unexpected, making connections that take us aback, working
out strategies to navigate media’s capacity to deceive – to sting the
audience as much as expose secretive acts – through a forensic analytics,
through ethical calibration, but also playfully, ironically. For us, such a
wager also places emphasis on process, how things are done, how techniques
are used, what evidence is presented, what judgments are made, how publics
are engaged, framing the cinema as an act of research. In this series,
Sarai will screen films to shift focus, to conjure up unusual images and
sounds, novel techniques and subject matter, and will organise discussions
with practitioners, researchers and an interested public to renew our
investment in the cinema, to capture what it means in our times.

*Synopsis of Machines (2016/71 mins)*

Moving through the corridors and bowels of an enormous and disorientating
structure, the camera takes the viewer on a descent down to a dehumanized
place of physical labor and intense hardship. This gigantic textile factory
in Gujarat, India might just as well be the decorum for a 21st century
Dante’s Inferno. In his mind-provoking yet intimate portrayal, director
Rahul Jain observes the life of the workers, the suffering and the
environment they can hardly escape from. With strong visual language,
memorable images and carefully selected interviews of the workers
themselves, Jain tells a story of inequality, oppression and the huge
divide between rich, poor and the perspectives of both.

*Rahul Jain* is from New Delhi and grew up in Uttaranchal and Himachal
Pradesh among other places. He recently graduated with a Bachelors of Fine
Arts in Film and Video from the California Institute of the Arts and is
presently pursuing a Writing M.A in Aesthetics and Politics. He is
interested in distance, otherness and the everyday. *Machines* is the debut
production of Rahul Jain.

*Prabhu Mohapatra* is faculty at the Department of History, University of
Delhi. He works on history of labour and working classes, transnational
labour history and long distance labour migration, history of Indian
diaspora, economic history of modern India, environmental history.

*Shaunak Sen* is a film maker, cinema researcher, and video-artist based in
New Delhi. His feature-length documentary film ‘Cities of Sleep’ (75 mins,
2016) has shown in over 30 International Festivals and won 6 international
awards. He has curated and shown work in various art exhibition contexts in
India, Switzerland, Germany and Canada. His academic essays have been
published in journals including Bioscope (2013) and Widescreen (2014).

*Pallavi Paul’s* practice is about speculating the stake of poetry in the
contemporary. She primarily works with video and the installation form. Her
work has been shown at the AV festival in Newcastle, Contour Biennale, Tate
Modern (project space), The Garage Rotterdam, Cinema Zuid, CloseUp Cinema,
Open Source Festival, Edinburgh Art Festival, Bhaudaji Lad Museum,
Whitechapel Gallery, and KHOJ International Artists’ Association among
others. Her films have also shown in film festivals like Experimenta, TENT,
Mumbai Film Festival, 100 years of Experimentation in Film and Video
(organized by Film’s Division). She is also the recipient of several
fellowships and residency programmes. She is currently a PhD candidate at
the School of Arts and Aesthetics, JNU.
*The Sarai Programme*
Centre for the Study of Developing Societies
sarai.net | facebook.com/sarai.net

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