A film directed by Ákos Östör, professor of anthropology, emeritus, and edited by film major Joe Sousa ’03, explores the life of a painter, composer and singer living in West Bengal, India.
The 35-minute film, Songs of a Sorrowful Man, was screened Oct. 29 in the Powell Family Cinema inside the Center for Film Studies.
The “sorrowful man,” Dukhushyam Chitrakar is a charismatic figure who encourages women to take up the traditional craft of scroll painting and musical composition pursued almost exclusively by men before.
In a series of edited sequences, the film chronicles Dukhushyam’s vision of the decline and rebirth of his art; his tolerant Sufi Muslim spirituality; his engagement with Hindus, Muslims and the modern world; his encyclopedic knowledge of changing musical and painting histories and techniques; the influence of his beliefs on his way of life, and his teachings for future generations of painters and singers in his community.
Another film, directed and produced by Sousa and Matt Sienkiewicz ’03 producer/director was shown after Songs of a Sorrowful Man. Live: from Bethlehem, is a feature documentary and online video source that tells the story of how journalists from the Ma’an Network have declared independence from hate-filled propaganda and are revolutionizing media in the Palestinian Territories.
The film chronicles the struggles, failures and triumphs of the network, the only major independent news source in the Palestinian Territories. Following the lives of the station’s reporters, producers and photographers, the documentary provides an in-depth, balanced look into the challenges of making news in one of the world’s most combative regions.
Östör and Sousa discussed their films following the screenings.