Mumbai is a city profoundly shaped by constant demographic change. Waves of migration regularly hit the city’s muddy shores, leaving behind memories and mindsets. It is this multilingual city of sprawling slums and real estate onslaughts that Academy member-in-residence and current fellow Madhusree Dutta explores in her film 7 Islands and a Metro, a hard hitting yet lyrical take on the city’s story.
It is a tale woven into a tapestry of fiction, Cinéma vérité, art objects, found footage, sound installation and literary texts. Structured around imaginary epistolary debates between two characters over the art of chronicling this multi-layered space, the film was shot mainly during the monsoon. It portrays some of the city’s most beautiful yet ruthlessly violent features, its recurring riots, and its unpredictable moods, personified by the seven guardian goddesses to whom the film is dedicated. After the screening, Madhusree Dutta joins in conversation with Berlinale delegate for Sub-Saharan Africa, India and South Asia DOROTHEE WENNER.
Madhusree Dutta is a filmmaker as well as a curator and a pedagogue. She is the founder and executive director of Majlis, a centre for rights discourse and multi-disciplinary art initiatives in Mumbai, India. She currently lives in Mumbai.
Image: Madhusree Dutta, 7 Islands and a Metro, 100′, India 2006, color, Hindi, English, Urdu, Marathi with English subs