Cinéma du Réel - International documentary film festival
The Battle for Banaras
DR

The Battle for Banaras

Kamal Swaroop

2015 / India / 133 min

i Thursday 24 March 15H10 Cinéma 1
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Original Version Subtitled in French and English + debate

i Friday 25 March 20H40 Cinéma 2
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Original Version Subtitled in French and English + debate

i Saturday 26 March 14H00 Centre Wallonie Bruxelles
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Original Version Subtitled in French and English

During the May 2014 election campaign, rallies and demonstrations fill the streets of the holy city of Banaras. The frontrunner is none other than the Prime Minister-to-be, Narendra Modi (from the right-wing BJP party), and opposing him Arvind Kejriwal from the young AAP party. Kamal Swaroop cues his ambition on the vastness of the movements of crowds; which does not mean documenting a tsunami-like election, but using this to question the working of Asia’s largest democracy. In counterpoint to the street sequences, the filmmaker’s discussions with a friend shed light on Indian politics. But even during these exchanges, life is in full swing in the background, funeral pyres are being built on the banks of the Ganges, the Shiva festival is under preparation, the statuette-makers are producing at full capacity. This productive feverishness also drives the speeches and the eagerness of the reporters with their microphones. Never biased, Battle for Banaras nonetheless conveys the vague feeling – sometimes voiced by politically aware passers-by – that the parties are corrupt, that religion is enslaved to politicians, in short, as one textile worker says, that “brains have stopped functioning”. The film was banned by the Indian Censor Board, which described it as inflammatory. (Charlotte Grason)

Production : Mediente International Films
Print source : Mediente Internationale Films