Impact | Insights
This fearlessly complex document of a country’s pain and corruption starts with the murder of rationalist Narendra Dabholkar in 2013 and traces lines outward, to Mahatma Gandhi’s assassination, the repressive power of Hindu nationalism, and the caste system that undergirds "the world’s most populous democracy." Anand Patwardhan’s eight-chapter chronicle of the last six years in India, his first film since Jai Bhim Comrade (VIFF 12), works to disentangle and disempower propagandistic imagery, anti-Muslim rhetoric, and fascism rooted in nothing less than on-the-record adoration of Adolf Hitler.
The images here can seem overwhelming, but Patwardhan buttresses Reason’s information rush with sensitive, skillful interviews, including activists and family members of those lost to assassinations. What emerges is nothing so certain as optimism - in the face of a cycle that extends back to the founding of a country, that’d be hard to account for - but in the clear voices of university students ("Dalits of the world, unite!"), something survives.
"Partly an archive and partly an argument - both of which are essential in a country where history and free speech are under increasing attack." - Devika Girish, Film Comment
Best Film, IDFA 18