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Gregory Cohen, Manon Ott
France, 2012

English, Hindi


"Dams are the Temples of Modern India," declared Nehru, as the country won its independence. Soon, one of the most colossal dam projects ever designed will be completed on the Narmada River in India, having displaced thousands of people living along the valley. Shot in Super 8, this film takes the form of a reflective journey, a daydream, winding its way downriver between the myths of “progress” and the myths of the Narmada. As we discover these changing landscapes, we meet the local inhabitants who are against the dam complex, homing in on where the flame of resistance still burns.

With the support of Scam

Tënk's film review

The image is both beautiful and disturbing: you meander down an exquisitely calm stretch of river, with bright sunshine and a perfect blue sky. Yet the treetops are only just poking out of the water, and you can make out the rooftop of a building that has literally been drowned.  Something has happened: an attempt to erase, and cover up, though hints of life still linger on the surface.
Without moralising, ‘educating’ or even giving a commentary, this film uses subtle editing and intricate sound work to reveal the challenges facing a country and culture in upheaval:  the myths of ancestral India confront the myths of modernity…

Sylvain Bich

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Gregory Cohen

Grégory Cohen is a filmmaker as well as a researcher in film and social sciences. Alongside his artistic and research projects, he is a university teacher in photography, cinema and sociology, and leads workshops in the Paris region. With Manon Ott he co-directed “Narmada” and the short film "Petits Aménagements avec l’Occident", and co-authored a book of photographs about Myanmar entitled "Birmanie, rêves sous surveillance."

Manon Ott

Born in 1982, Manon Ott is a filmmaker and researcher. With Grégory Cohen she co-authored a book of photographs and life stories from Myanmar ("Birmanie, rêves sous surveillance"), and has directed several films ("Yu" and "Narmada") screened at numerous festivals. She is also a university teacher and leads workshops in the Paris suburbs, alongside her research work in film and social sciences.

Other films in the collection: Brouillon d'un rêve