Östör’s Film Screens at National Film Festivals

The 35-minute film, Songs of a Sorrowful Man, explores the life of a painter, composer and singer living in West Bengal, India.

The 35-minute film, Songs of a Sorrowful Man, explores the life of a painter, composer and singer living in West Bengal, India.

The new film, Songs of a Sorrowful Man, directed by Ákos Östör, professor of anthropology, emeritus, and edited by film major Joe Sousa ’03, began its journey debuting at the biennial Royal Anthropological Film Festival, held at Leeds University in July.

The film was then shown at the the American Anthropological Association meeting in Philadelphia, Pa. Dec. 2-6. It also was screened recently at at Brown where it was featured as the lead event in Brown’s “Year of India” celebrations (2009-10).

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.

Read more about the film in an Oct. 27, 2009 Wesleyan Connection article.