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THE LIGHTNING TESTIMONIES, Amar Kanwar, India, 113’

The film reflects upon a history of conflict in the Indian subcontinent through experiences of sexual violence. As the film explores this violence, there emerge multiple submerged narratives, sometimes in people, images and memories, and at other times in objects from nature and everyday life that stand as silent but surviving witnesses. In all narratives the body becomes central - as a site for honour, hatred and humiliation and also for dignity and protest.

TWO LIVES, Samina Mishra, 30’, PSBT

Smriti and Rupa live an hour away from each other but the only thing their worlds seem to have in common is that they are both mothers. Smriti is a stay at home mom, living in a posh South Delhi colony and Rupa is a domestic worker living in a basti in Gurgaon. Both are pregnant and as they wait for their babies to be born, they reflect on what it means to be a mother. As new worlds open up for women and old roles persist, the film looks at how women enact motherhood in our times.

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Women's Film Festival, Ahmedabad

FOUR WOMEN AND A ROOM, Ambarien Al Qadar, 42’, PSBT

Four Women and a Room is a film about the fragmented associations of four women with the Labour Room. Late into pregnancy, Mili is confounded with the unknown. Having gone through endless rituals of matchmaking, Latika is wondering about her desire to be a biological mother. The dreamscape of the filmmaker throws up images and associations of a hospital visited sometime back and reminds her of meeting the fourth woman; a fictitious character; who might have undergone a sex selective abortion. The film raises critical questions about debates around the falling sex ratios and biological motherhood while making a strong case for the agency of women.

VIEW FROM A GRAIN OF SAND, Meena Nanji, USA, 82’

Shot in the sprawling refugee camps of Pakistan and the war-torn city of Kabul, three remarkable Afghan women - a doctor, a teacher, and rights activist - lead us through the maze of Afghanistan’s complex history, informing this examination of how international interventions, war and the rise of political Islam have stripped Afghan women of their rights over the last thirty years. Combining verité footage, interviews and rare archival material, the film is a harrowing, thought-provoking, yet intimate portrait of a still divided and brutalised nation, that provides illuminating context for Afghanistan’s current situation, and the ongoing battle women still face to gain basic human rights.

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Silver Conch, International Documentary Feature, MIFF Best Documentary, Canada International Film Festival Audience Award, Best Feature, Seattle South Asian Festival

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