As part of the “Cinéma d’hier et d’aujourd’hui” programme at the Cinématographe in Nantes, a focus on Mani Kaul is proposed until 18 February in partnership with the festival.
The director has been featured several times at the Festival des 3 Continents; during a dedicated retrospective in 2011 but also in the International Competition since 1990 and as recently as the last edition in 2022 as part of the retrospective “An Indian Autumn” at the last edition in November 2022.
Restricted to the fringes of cinema in his own country, where he worked on formal experimentations without much support, Kaul is hardly better known in the West, even among dedicated film-goers. None of his films have been distributed in France to date. (…)
Devoid of any element which would easily appeal to the audience, both in filmic and realistic terms (reality was a challenge to him), Mani Kaul’s films avoid the obvious. Here, the complex realities of India (linguistic, geographic, mythological, social) seem to be calling for a new form of art, away from prevailing references and the overwhelming entertainment.
The film-maker never gave up on this idea, whether in his fiction films or in documentaries. Yet he never set to show the right way either. Thus it is easy to understand why few follow the film-maker on his invaluable quest for freedom. Mani Kaul’s films are all the more dear to us.