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Char is an island in the river that forms the border between India and Bangladesh. It is there that a boy named Rubel and his family live, along with others who lost their homes. The island emerged like a gift that the river gave to the people as a refuge after it tore away their native village when the water levels rose. But this gift is built on sand, a fleeting environmental reaction after the dam upstream was put into operation. Out of necessity, the people – much like the birds – have made use of this new terrain and built up a contraband business. Livestock, alcohol, rice, and other wares are smuggled past the border patrols with admirable finesse: a heroic battle for survival that provides Rubel with just enough to let him dream of a better future, although (or because) Char will be merely one stage in his life. Sourav Sarangi observed this soggy microcosm over a number of years, using various different cameras to capture heterogeneous, at times almost apocalyptic images on film. His story of a boy growing up is left with an open ending, mixed with an oddly wonderful feeling of amazement. (Dorothee Wenner)

Production: Son et Lumiere, Calcutta; Final Cut for Real Aps, Copenhagen; Stefilm International, Turin; Cinema Oslo, Oslo
Screenplay: Sourav Sarangi
Camera: Sourav Sarangi, Rabindranath Das, Minarul Mondal, Ajoy Noronha
Format: QuickTime ProRes 422, colour
Running time: 88 min
Language: Bengali

Funded by:

  • Logo Minister of State for Culture and the Media
  • Logo des Programms NeuStart Kultur