Colloquium | Shekhar Deshpande

Wednesday, January 25, 2012 - 12:00pm

Shekhar Deshpande

Anthology Films as Political Interventions

Long neglected, anthology films, also known as omnibus films, now demand our attention in the vast landscape of world cinema. Over the past two decades or so, collective films with short film contributions from several directors, all commissioned to address a single theme, have become prevalent and increasingly visible in various parts of the world. These films urge a different understanding of many foundational categories in film studies: the role of the producer in collaborative filmmaking, the question of authorship in a collective project, the concept of spectatorship situated in dispersed, fragmented texts and the issues of intertextuality. 

 In an almost programmatic development, the anthology films also share some common themes, both topical-political and those dealing with the role of film in world cinema. Anthology films appear to construct nation and transnational relationships, deliberate political interventions in social and cultural discourse, inscriptions of the globalized city as the center of filmmakers’ identities, cinephilia that works to re-write the primal scene of filmmaking and the multi-voice narratives on sexuality and the erotic.

This presentation will focus on how anthology films work as acts of political interventions through an examination of the role of film as a “pre-evental”-- to use a term in Alain Badiou studies--opportunity for filmmakers. I will talk about how anthology films have served as specific interventions in the discourses of human rights, children’s rights, alleviation of suffering and cultural discourses of conflict.

Cinema Studies Program
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