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Updated: June 11, 2012 18:54 IST

Meditating cinema

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S. Anand of Konangal Film Society. Photo: K. Ananthan
The Hindu
S. Anand of Konangal Film Society. Photo: K. Ananthan

Art and cinema lovers had a double treat as Konangal and the Contemplate Art Gallery screened How Art Made The World

The Contemplate art gallery had a few movie lovers gathered there, connected by their passion for cinema and art. A BBC documentary called How Art Made The World was being screened by the Konangal film society. The documentary tracked the history of image construction in the human civilization.

What is it that forced man to draw pictures? Why are our lives so image-dependent? The documentary traced these questions back to the pre-historic time. Thirty five thousand years ago man began creating images of animals, in dark and rugged caves.

The film explained the mystery behind cave paintings. David Lewis Williams' theory about cave paintings confirmed that these paintings did not depict scenes of everyday life, but the visions of the artists, who had hallucinations in the dim lit caves. They were not just painting what they saw, but they were interpreting the world through their vision.

The documentary explained the connection between our sense of excitement while watching a film, to that of the cave artists as they captured the moving world in their dim-lit caves. That could be the pre-historic counter parts of our modern day cinema halls.

“There is abstraction ingrained in us,” said S. Anand, the Secretary of the club. “We are beings that are capable of abstract thought”. Anand's love for cinema goes back to the 70s. “I love both cinema and art. It is images that grip me,” he said.

However do films these days use the language of images? Do they give enough importance to visual experience? According to Anand, “The popular films, especially Tamil cinema is highly melodramatic and conversation-based even now. In cinema, images should do the talking. It is a medium of images not words. Images and music have the same rhythm that bypasses intellect”.

Tarkovsky said, “Do not use metaphors and similes while talking about my film. Just watch it and experience it visually”. Konangal that screens movies every weekend once also held discussions post-screening. But they have stopped that now. Anand calls the discussions a ‘horrible academic exercise.' “You kill it in the process,” he says. Anand says there is a rasika in all of us and despite all attempts by the society one should have independent views about art.

The Konangal Film Society has been screening classics since 2003. It screens feature films on two Sundays every month, and once in every four months holds a retrospective of masters such as Kurosawa, Herzog, Bergman, and Ray. Once a month it screens an art documentary in collaboration with the Contemplate Art Gallery.

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