"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
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…
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