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Landscape, environment and affect in South Indian Cinema

2012 March 28
by scubitt

An original anthropological take on ecocritique from Johns Hopkins scholar Anand Pandian in the Fall issue of Cinema Journal (DOI: 10.1353/cj.2011.0078), Landscape of Expression: Affective Encounters in South Indian Cinema; Abstract: ‘Focusing on material environments of affective encounter, this essay examines the expression of feelings such as joy, longing, and sadness in South Indian popular cinema. Relying on ethnographic fieldwork with Tamil filmmakers in Chennai, Switzerland, and Dubai, the essay explores worldly accidents of circumstance through which cinema gains affective life.”

The affective turn is well worth ecocritical attention, as is the role of landscape in the urban and urbane context of Indian film, and its association especially with the songs which spring out of the dramatic action into other spaces. Great for de-westernising ecocritical film studies, and for extending the intellectual reach of ecocriticism.

One Response leave one →
  1. smonani permalink
    March 28, 2012

    In a related vein, I’ll highlight a very interesting presentation I attended at SCMS that was part of a panel on the place of the (film) festival. Ratheesh Radhakrishnan’s ( talk “Zanussi’s Betrayal: Film Festival, Kerala and the ‘International'” juxtaposes a self-reflexive festival film (Malayan short Dear Kim) with the festival space as popular intellectual destination to argue for the intriguing notion of the festival both generating a space outside of consumption (capitalist and cultural) and being embroiled in it. While he didn’t directly reference affective or ecocritical theory, his talk made me think of both, especially in his discussions of the festival as a “sacred” space where Kerala’s film goers flock like pilgrims to engage in its collective affect while those who can’t make it (because of economic and cultural barriers to consumption and circulation) are none the less emotionally affected by its potentials and possibilities.

    My interest piqued, I browsed the web for IFFK and found this interesting blog post:

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