Comrades in Dreams comes with a fine narrative
Documenting the everyday and the mundane can make cinema seem lifeless and drab and nearly unbearable to watch. Cinema seeks to entertain and without the element of entertainment, a movie cannot be watched no matter how educational and revelatory it might be, rather like a bland dish. And while it might be a tad easier constructing a plot to suit the audience rather than filming actualities, a film like Comrades in Dreams strikes that lovely balance that comes with a fine narrative.
Uli Gaulke’s Comrades in Dreams, screened at the Max Mueller Bhavan weaved from one end of the world to the other. From the rough terrains of Ouagadougou, to the dry lands of Shingnapur in Maharashtra, the highly political and revolutionary village of Chongsan Ri in North Korea, and the small town of Big Piney in USA, taking the audience along in a journey of cinema and culture and dreams that are each so distinct from the other yet holds strong at the base of their love and dream of screening films.
Gaulke stirs the potion to bring out the common flavours of the love for cinema and the small dreams that make the connect between different people in distant lands, while carefully measuring little dollops of culture and their contrasting perspectives. The small troubles and squabbles that Anup faces as he sets up his movie tent, and the domestic sparring between husband and wife that the three men in Burkina Faso face are light and amusing despite the continuously varying languages. The film is a delight and gives a completely new perspective to the experience of watching a movie on the big screen. A makeshift tent with a horde of people jostling each other and climbing over fences to catch a seat, so unlike the swanky multiplexes that we frequent, advertising the show with a mike on a jeep ride around the village, unlike the big hoardings we are surrounded by leaves a subtle impression of the simple being extraordinary. A story about the people who keep the reels rolling, is as interesting as the movies they project.