In any society art and especially films have the ability to tell the story of a people, they have within them the power to hold up a mirror to society and to question the status quo. The Northeast has for long been an area brimming with stories, culture, and talent. To explore this creative talent, we’ve curated a list of powerful short films by Northeastern filmmakers that should be on your watchlist.
Director Theja Rio’s Konyak film Angh is a compelling and riveting narrative of a singular man (a chief of a tribe) and his son’s futile resistance to the changing world.
Set in 1960s Nagaland, the film explores how the duo tries to uphold traditions and his despair as his community tries their best to make him give up on his traditions and capitulate to the new order of Christianity.
If a picture can speak a thousand words and music has within itself the capacity to make us feel emotions without even lyrics, there is something also to be said about the kind of power movement holds within that frame. The power to make us feel the intended emotion without the utterance of a single word and the sheer possibility within the narrative to heighten our senses to the movement of the music and the characters without the need for a statement offered for interpretation.
Assam-based director Sourav Das’s musical mood piece Kaala thrives on our screen in this sense of movement. With no dialogues to offer refuge, it leaves you with only overwhelming emotions. The musical mood film follows the ritualistic madness that operates within society. The cinematography, the mood that the music lends it, the sense of anger that you will feel, and the eventual climax can all be felt through the screen. Kaala truly holds up a mirror towards us and leaves us introspecting and reflecting.
Assamese filmmaker and screenplay writer Vishal P. Chaliha’s 2021 Bodo language film Sijou exposes the inhumanity and brutality of the oppressive and regressive feudal system that was prevalent and practised in Bhutan till 1958.
The historical drama film, inspired by true events, follows the tale of a mischievous small boy who lives with his father in a village near the Indo-Bhutan Border and how his life takes a drastic shift when he becomes a victim of the feudal land tenure system.
IV. The Tainted Mirror
Written and directed by Romi Meitei, Manipuri film The Tainted Mirror (Motsillaba Mingsel) is a gripping social commentary on consumerism and the grip it has on young minds. It tackles complex questions of morals and ethics in a society where even children are stuck in a vulnerable position of deciding between fair play and good health.
‘The Tainted Mirror is about the grip consumerism has on the value system that is gradually turning us into a society of self-seekers. This selfish mentality is mirrored in the action of a young boy called Chaoren when he has to ensure his selection on the local football team,’ says Pocket Films.
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