Two major projects are presented at the Australian Cinémathèque for APT6: Promised Lands and The Cypress and the Crow: 50 Years of Iranian Animation, which encompass diverse video and filmmaking practices, genres and makers, working across cinema and contemporary art. Three filmmakers are also included among the APT6 artists, and will be profiled with retrospective seasons during the exhibition: Takeshi Kitano (Japan), Ang Lee (Taiwan/USA), Rithy Panh(Cambodia/France).
Australian Cinémathèque programs include films that have not been officially classified in Australia. These films have been assigned age recommendations as a guide only. Parents and teachers are advised to contact the Cinémathèque if they would like more information as to the content and suitability of the films.
Promised Lands Promised Lands profiles cinematic and geopolitical relationships throughout the Indian subcontinent (Bangladesh, India, Kashmir, Pakistan, Sri Lanka) and across to West Asia and the Middle East (including Afghanistan, Armenia, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Kurdistan, Lebanon, Palestine and Turkey). In the context of the APT, which seeks to question the cultural and geographical frameworks of the Asia Pacific region, Promised Lands opens up a deeper conversation with West Asia and the Middle East. This discussion underlines the need for a more specific awareness of distinct histories and genealogies within these regions, while also acknowledging interactions and shared influences across borders. Through the process of bringing political geographies and histories into question, the opportunity arises to reflect on how the region's complex and diverse cultures and artistic practices contribute to new and more nuanced understandings of 'Asia'.
Promised Lands includes five programs of film and video that consider local politics and individual lives within a larger context. Each program has an autonomous curatorial framework: responses to civil war in Sri Lanka (The Road to Jaffna) the legacies of partition across the Indian subcontinent (Cinema of Partition); dissent and the affirmation of cultural identity in a climate of political intervention in West Asia, as well as the fraught nexus of religious fundamentalism and national politics (The Tree of Life); the traumatic histories linking Armenia and Turkey (Return of the Poet); and fault lines throughout the Middle East in response to conflict and territorial incursions in Palestine, Lebanon and Israel (Eating My Heart). Several broad themes appear across these strands, in particular the intersection of daily life with relationships to land, religious affiliations and cultural histories.
While political and colonial legacies have divided land and communities, Promised Lands points to the aspirations of artists and filmmakers to reframe these struggles and find a path forward. Promised Lands looks to artists and filmmakers who find opportunities to rethink the past and imagine the future. Their work draws on the historical roots of contemporary experience, bringing the past to life in the present to transform our understanding of then and now. The program brings together works that project possibilities for change and explore the hopes of exiled and dispossessed communities to return to, or create, a homeland. The artists and filmmakers featured in Promised Lands provide extraordinary insights into complex contemporary situations, and work in myriad ways to counter the insidious effects of cultural homogenisation. Their individual narratives offer a depth of understanding rarely available in official histories and suggest new possibilities for relationships and understanding. The past and present in the first person take discussions of the future out of the realm of rhetoric and into a shared framework of responsibility.
List of Works
The Road to Jaffna
In the predominantly Buddhist country of Sri Lanka, filmmakers have examined the 26 years of civil war between the Sinhala majority and Tamil minority, and the continuing struggle for an independent Tamil state. Suspended in a state of being simultaneously without war and without peace, filmmakers search for ways to reconcile history, religious myth and political rhetoric attempts to reconcile the history, religious myth and political rhetoric which have brought both Tamil and Sinhalese nationalist discourse into being.
Min datter terroristen (My Daughter the Terrorist) 2007 | Director: Beate Arnestad, Morten Daae
Me mage sandai (This Is My Moon) 2000 | Director: Asoka Handagama
Ahasin Wetei (Between Two Worlds) 2009 | Director: Vimukthi Jayasundara
The Land of Silence 2001 | Director: Vimukthi Jayasundara
In Search of a Road 2006 | Director: Dharmasena Pathiraja
Pura handa Kaluwara (Death on a full Moon Day) 1997 | Director: Prasanna Vithanage
Ira Madiyama (August Sun) 2003 | Director: Prasanna Vithanage
Cinema of Partition
India and Pakistan
Artists and filmmakers across the Indian subcontinent have given expression to the consequences of partitioning British India into the states of India and Pakistan following the country's independence from colonial rule in 1947. This imposed geographic division along religious lines caused profound physical, social and emotional scars and fractures still in evidence amongst Muslim, Hindu, Christian and Sikh communities. Large-scale border crossings and emigration occurred in attempts to flee conflict, intolerance and economic hardship, and individual and collective identities were subject to media and political manipulation. Cinema of Partition surveys a selection of artist and filmmakers who have responded strongly to the experience of partition, offering insights into its continuing effects and the possibility of transcending the divisions it created.
Jashn-e-Azadi (How We Celebrate Freedom) 2007 | Director: Sanjay Kak
A Season Outside 1997 | Director: Amar Kanwar
Matir Monia (The Clay Birds) 2002 | Director: Tareque Masud
Earth 1998 | Director: Deepa Mehta
Tamas (Darkness) 1986 | Director: Govind Nihalani
Autumn's Final Country 2003 | Director: Sonia Jabbar
Way Back Home 2003 | Director: Supriyo Sen
The Sky Below 2007 | Director: Sarah Singh
Tahaan: A Boy with a Grenade 2008 | Director: Santosh Sivan
Khamosh Pani (Silent Waters) 2003 | Director: Sabiha Sumar
The Tree of Life
Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Kurdistan
The region from Afghanistan to Iraq and Iran has experienced parallel trajectories of political manipulation, war and invasion, with outside political interference in Iran's internal politics from the 1950s, three decades of conflict in Afghanistan, the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran, the Iran–Iraq War (1980–88), the United States' military aggression in Iraq in the 1990s and 2000s, and the ongoing plight of Kurdish people living across the geographic lines of Iran, Iraq and Turkey. Artists and filmmakers today are exploring possibilities for individual affirmation and dissidence amongst younger generations and women. Working against the grain of media images of war, terrorism and religious extremism, they seek to articulate complex local knowledges, and emerge from a vibrant social and artistic context that draws on a rich heritage of art and literature, and historical networks of cultural exchange.