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The program of our virtual cinema www.arsenal-3-berlin.de makes direct reference to the activities carried out by our institution: the program of the Arsenal 1 & 2 cinemas , the titles that form part of our arsenal distribution range, or our Living Archive archival practice, which is rooted in both participation and production."

A pioneering political work of contemporary relevance: Communal violence between Hindus and Muslims in 1984 forms the starting point for this film, whose complexity lends it immense political force. The film’s historical perspective is provided by a thorough commentary, which gives the camera’s particular presence the necessary depth and complexity. The mechanisms of political power struggles, the dynamics among those that hold power, and the instrumentalisation of economic relations and urban poverty make for a striking analysis, uniquely anticipating the subsequent development of communalist conflicts and the politics of marginalisation. The immediacy achieved by filming just as violence is unfolding juxtaposed with calm observations of the devastating consequences of living one’s life during a state of emergency, thus reaching a level of respectful lyricism and contemplation that make the film much more than just a worthy reportage.

KYA HUA IS SHAHAR KO? is being digitalised, restored and screened again for the first time in 27 years as part of the ”Living Archive” project. A DVD including additional historical and contemporary material is due for release in June 2013." (Nicole Wolf)

With her project “Engaging Cinema and Reviewing Collective Practices,” a part of “Living Archive – Archive Work as a Contemporary Artistic and Curatorial Practice” (2011–2013), Nicole Wolf has dedicated herself to reexamining some of Deepa Dhanraj’s early films. KYA HUA IS SHAHAR KO? (“What happened to this city?”, 1986) was first presented at the Berlinale Forum in 1988, and a 16-mm copy with German subtitles became part of the Arsenal archives. In 2012, the film was digitized and subsequently screened again as part of the 2013 Berlinale Forum program.

Deepa Dhanraj has made numerous documentary films. Many of her works address topics closely related to India’s women’s movement, of which she is one of the most important representatives. She also founded the Yugantar film collective (1980–1983), which made the films MOLKARIN (1981), TAMBAKU CHAAKILA OOB ALI (1982) and IDHI KATHA MATRAMENA (1983). These were digitally restored in 2018/2019 in the course of the “Archive außer sich” project, again under the curatorial direction of Nicole Wolf, and screened as part of the Berlinale Forum and Forum Expanded.

Work began recently on the digitization of Deepa Dhanraj’s film SUDESHA (1983), which will be presented at the first edition of our Archival Assembly festival in September 2021. SUDESHA was produced and broadcast on German television in 1984/85 as part of the “As Women See It” film series. Copies of the film from the Arsenal archive and from the EZEF (Evangelical Center for Development-Related Film) are being used to create the digital version.

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