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A Rifle and a Bag

Arya Rothe , Cristina Hanes , Isabella Rinaldi
Qatar, Romania, Italy, India, 2019
Production : NoCut Film Collective

French, English


After leaving the Naxalite–Maoist insurgency, still active in Eastern India, Somi and her husband live with their two small children in a camp set up by the government, in anticipation of their reintegration. But the social organisation they fought against, armed, is pretending to offer them a future and redemption.

Latitudes Section - Visions du Réel 2020

Tënk's film review

Located in the east of the peninsula, the Naxalites have been fighting since the 1960s for the rights of tribal communities and the “Dalits” (casteless) who represent a quarter of the Indian population and live in extreme poverty. For New Delhi, they represent the biggest threat to the State’s security, averted through a "pardon" policy, in exchange for their surrender. Somi is expecting a new child. Along with her husband, she has put down her rifle to live in a camp with other reformed fighters, and to offer their eldest, Dadu, the education they never had. Arya Rothe, Isabella Rinaldi and Cristina Hanes filmed in immersion over a long period their condition of ex-combatants as the spouses find themselves in an almost inextricable situation. The governmental "pardon" is limited to the incessant questioning of a past with which they are trying to break, further complicated by red tape. "A Rifle and a Bag" subtly shows the mechanisms of a hard-to-find reinsertion within a rigid social organisation, which is effectively holding Somi and her family as hostages.

Emmanuel Chicon
Programmer for Visions du Réel - Nyon

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Arya Rothe

Arya is an independent filmmaker based in Pune, India. She graduated in 2016 from DocNomads. Before DocNomads, she studied at FAMU - National Film School of Czech Republic. Her short film "Daughter's mother" had its world premiere at 61st DokLeipzig Film Festival in 2018.

Cristina Hanes

Cristina Haneș is a Romanian film director and producer. She co-founded NoCut Film Collective in 2016 with two other independent filmmakers from Italy and India. They produce author driven documentary films. NoCut Film Collective’s first production, the feature length documentary film "A Rifle and a Bag" (2020) won the Special Mention of the Jury at 2020 International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR) in the Bright Future Competition The film’s festival record so far includes selections at Visions du Reel (Swiss Premiere), First Look @ Museum of Moving Image in NYC (U.S. Premiere), Thessaloniki Documentary Film Festival (Greek Premiere), One World Romania (Romanian Premiere). Her short documentary film "António e Catarina" (2017) won the Pardino D’oro Award for Best International Short in Pardi di Domani at 2017 Locarno Festival.

Isabella Rinaldi

Isabella Rinaldi is an independent filmmaker based in Rome, Italy. She graduated DocNomads after getting her BA in Film Studies at Sapienza University in Rome. She is currently directing one episode of the documentary series "Borderline" produced by Offworld from Belgium.

Other films in the collection: Cream of the screens