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Updated: May 2, 2012 19:07 IST

Wielding a lens, sans judgement

Pushpa Achanta
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CAPTURING A CHANGING CITY: Filmmaker Clemence Barrett has shot the stories of traders at Russell Market in the midst of reconstruction efforts. Photo: Karan Ananth
CAPTURING A CHANGING CITY: Filmmaker Clemence Barrett has shot the stories of traders at Russell Market in the midst of reconstruction efforts. Photo: Karan Ananth

Clemence finds Bangalore changing rapidly even during her short stay here

“I love markets and like to explore different parts of a city without being judgemental,” said Clemence Barrett, a multidisciplinary artist and filmmaker from France.

She was speaking to The Hindu after the recent screening of Trade-Off? as part of the Neighbourhood Diaries project focussing on ‘Blackpally'. In an honest and poignant manner, using Clemence's lens, Trade-Off captures the stories of traders inside Russell Market whose livelihoods were impacted in the market fire of February 2012.

Nearly 480 shops in this two-acre double storied complex, which is over 80 years old, sell vegetables, fruits, flowers, fish, meat and dairy products. While some of the traders have been there for a couple of decades, others have been at the market over generations.

When asked how the traders responded to her making the film in the midst of their efforts at reconstruction, Clemence said, “The people here were ready to talk as they realised that we have genuine concern for their issues. We have shot in these surroundings for two months.”

Yesteryear tales

Neighbourhood Diaries is a collaboration between conservation architect Krupa Rajangam of Saythu and multi-dimensional artist Archana Prasad of Jaaga. In the words of the team, “Neighbourhood Diaries involves the residents of a locality and engages them in discovering secrets, truths and novelties that made their area special. It documents the oral, tangible and intangible heritage of neighbourhoods using the short film format.”

Clemence is the primary cameraperson in this project.

“An art residency brought me from Paris to Bangalore where I got to meet people from Jaaga. We clicked, so we decided to collaborate on various projects,” she said.

Even in her short stay here, she found Bangalore changing rapidly, she said.

Heritage and children

Since the late 1980s, Clemence has directed documentaries, and music and animation shorts for children, for television channels in France including Canal+ and Arte.

Her films have been screened in Pondicherry, Chennai and at the United Nations to much acclaim. In India, she was associated with the Microsoft Digital Heritage project, which created short films on the Virupaksha temple in Hampi.

She has also exhibited several art installations in the city and conducted a video workshop for children of a low income locality.

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