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Eye to the rights

Anthony Gilmore documents a shameful episode of East Asian history which the world has chosen to ignore.

Written by Alaka Sahani |
January 7, 2009 2:17:41 am

Tri Continental Film Festival brings to fore forgotten and forbidden tales of war and exploitation

Anthony Gilmore documents a shameful episode of East Asian history which the world has chosen to ignore. Under Imperial Japan,Korean women were coerced into systematic sexual slavery by Japan’s military force at ‘comfort stations’. After nearly six decades,Behind Forgotten Eye,a 76-minute documentary,compiles the harrowing experiences of the victims and remorseful accounts of Japanese soldiers. The motive: Make the world aware of the gruesome fall-out of war and conflict.

In the present conflict-riddled world,more attempts at spreading the lessons learnt from human right violations comes from Gini Reticker’s Pray the Devil Back to Hell (US),which records the resistance of Liberia’s women who successfully demanded the country’s warring parties find a path to peace,as well as Natalie Assouline’s Brides of Allah (Israel) about Palestinian women’s struggle to define their role.

“These two documentaries don’t directly talk about war,but focus on their consequences. There are others like White Light Black Rain and On that Day which talk about war crimes,” says Alika Khosla,director of Tri Continental Film Festival. The Mumbai edition of the annual event,which made its Indian debut in 2004,will take off at the NCPA on January 23 after its New Delhi inauguration. Then,the festival with its bouquet of 28 films from more than 20 countries will travel to Goa,Bangalore and Kolkata for the next three weeks.

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The festival,hosted by Breakthrough,an international human rights organisation,is a cross-continental event showcasing films dealing with human rights issues from Latin America,Africa and Asia,which together form global South and are part of the developing world. “The festival is the perfect vehicle to introduce global human rights issues to the youth in India,” said Khosla.

Talking about wars is just a part of the festival’s agenda. It also explores tales of destitution,exploitation,apathy as well as internal turmoil of real people who are at the core of these films. The films are placed under four categories— ‘Body Public’; ‘Not All in Good Faith’ probes the exploitation rendered by neo-liberal development ventures; ‘The Line that Defines’ deals with border-crossing and the issue of illegal immigrants and ‘Zones of War’.

The festival widens its reach by listing college campuses and small towns as their screening venues. Last year,it went to the North-East. “That part has remained cut-off from the mainstream. Showing these films there are extremely essential,” says Khosla.

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