Resonating the courage to win oddsCultural Correspondent
Kamar Ahmed Simon’s documentary ‘Shunte Ki Pao’, having the English subtitle Are You Listening!’ reminds the fact that real life is ‘stranger than fiction.’
Shunte Ki Pao was premiered in Bangladesh on Saturday at the Central Public Library, though had been the curtain raiser of the 55th International Leipzig Festival for Documentary and Animated Film, one of the oldest festivals of its kind.
Creative narration, brilliant cinematography and outstanding editing of the documentary make the struggle of the common people an appreciable art to the audience.
The simple storyline of the documentary is well known to the people: sufferings of people living in a small village near Sundarban after severely hit by cyclone Aila on May 25, 2009.
Kudos goes to Kamar Ahmad Simon’s sensible observation and quality presentation, which have made the well known-story to a powerful narrative of real life characters such as Rakhi, Soumen and their only child Rahul. Like the other Aila victims, the family lives in a temporary house on the embankment and gives volunteer service to make a dam to restore their normal life.
The documentary, however, is not about the heartrending realities that engulf the poor rather it’s a celebrations of life which finally triumphs with the strength lies in human relations.
Interestingly, the camera follows daily life activities of the Aila victims throughout the documentary. Simon’s efforts deserve plaudits for picturing the real life depiction of the victims instead of presenting any ‘artificially crafted’ documentation of the problem as done in most of such documentaries expect for the scene where people verbally assault the supervisor of the relief programme.
As a result multidimensional activities of the people such as collecting drinking water, quarrel for getting relief and even normal tea-stall talks get a smooth narration in the documentary.
The inherent strength and courage of the people to fight against the natural calamities have also been presented dynamically in Simon’s brilliant camera. Filming from an unusually low camera angle, Simon creatively illustrates the vigor of the people live in coastal area who wrestle against natural calamity all through their lives.
And the film ends portraying Rakhi, Soumen and Rahul get back to their previous home after installing the dam. To portray facing calamities a part of the people living in the area, Simon interestingly finishes the film depicting another cyclone hits the area but the smile in Rakhi’s face gives the message of winning it again.
The 90-minute documentary has been produced by Sara Afreen.
It is the first Bangladeshi film to be invited to the Editing Lab of Campus Studio of Berlinale Film Festival in Germany. Moreover, it won grant award for editing at Switzerland based competition Vision Sud Est.
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