In Changing Landscape we encounter two different kinds of loss, and place it in conversation with environments both rural and urban, cultivated and not. Have You Seen the Arana? takes us through the devastating impact of unsustainable development on livelihood systems whereas the silent film Last Rites exposes the changing nature of labor in Chittagong where ships breathe their last.
Have you seen the Arana?
Ningal aranaye kando?
Director: Sunanda Bhat
English (subtitled); 73 min; 2012; India
The film interweaves contemporary narratives with an ancient tribal myth to explore the effects of a rapidly changing landscape on lives and livelihood. Set in Wayanad, part of a rich and bio-diverse region in South India, we journey through a region that is witnessing drastic transformation in the name of “development.”
A woman’s concern over the disappearance of medicinal plants from the forest, a farmer’s commitment to growing traditional varieties of rice organically and a cash-crop cultivator’s struggle to survive amidst farmers’ suicides, offer fresh insights into shifting relations between people, knowledge systems and environment. As hills flatten, forests disappear and traditional knowledge systems are forgotten, the film reminds us that this diversity could disappear forever, to be replaced by monotonous and unsustainable alternatives.
The Last Rites
Director: Yasmine Kabir
No Dialogue; 17 min; 2008; Bangladesh
The Last Rites is an allegorical portrayal of the agony of hard labor. Unlike a traditional narrative, the film relies on images to tell its story. The silent film depicts the ship breaking yards of Chittagong, Bangladesh—a final destination for ships that are too old to ply the oceans any longer. Every year, hundreds of ships are sent to yards in Bangladesh. And every year, thousands of people keep coming in search of jobs in these yards. Risking their lives to save themselves from hunger, they breathe in asbestos dust and toxic waste. What emerges in a greater context is the tragedy of the human condition.