Doc Blog


This year, TIFF is pleased to present an especially strong line-up of  documentaries from South Asia. A Cry in the Dark (left) captures the violent repression of locals in Manipur, India protesting the rape and killing of a young woman under police custody. The film’s director, Haobam Paban Kumar, a native of the Eastern Indian province, captured escalating protests of shocking intensity - including shots of police beating unarmed activists and journalists in open sight. This protest, barely covered by the international press, demonstrates the power of independent documentary makers to bear witness.

Shame, presented as a work-in-progress, portrays a search for justice by Mukhataran Mai, a Pakistani woman who was gang-raped as a tribally sanctioned punishment for a crime allegedly committed by her brother. In the face of trememdous pressure against her, Mai won reparations from the Pakistani government that she used to build local school, where even the children of her attackers attend. Being of Pakistani descent, director Mohammed Naqvi understands the cultural complexities at stake. His telling of the story is full of complexity and nuance.

Office Tigers offers a lighter look into South Asia, as New York filmmaker Liz Mermin penetrates the head office of a vibrant, multinational corporation based in Chennai, India. Two Americans started Office Tiger six years ago. Today it has over thirty-five hundred employees on three continents. The employees in Chennai are members of the generation whose lives are being transformed by the global marketplace. Mermin portrays this intersection between East and West with tremendous wit and humanity. Viewers are left to make up their own minds about the ramifications of our rapidly globalizing economy.

These documentaries join an impressive number of other films from South Asia. Among the highlights will be the Mavericks presentation "The Making of a Bollywood  Blockbuster. The all star line-up of Never Say Goodbye - Shah Rukh Khan, Amitabh Bachchan and Rani Mukerji - will join director Karan Johar on stage. The conversation will be led by Suketu Mehta, whose book of documentary reportage on India's film capital Mumbai "Maximum City" was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize.

 [Filed by Deryck Ramcharitar]

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