The Rubin Phantom India: The Impossible Camera
Phantom India: The Impossible Camera
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$10 Student tickets will be available at the box office with a valid school ID
1969, India, Louis Malle, 54 min
Post-screening discussion with Arvind Rajagopal.
This first episode of Louis Malle's seminal documentary on India opens with glimpses of "westernized" Indian residents who demonstrate extreme influence by modern philosophical and political concepts such as communism. Dissatisfied, and determined to find the "real India," Malle and his crew plunge deeper, photographing such indigenous events as a Hindu wedding, the celebration of Shiva, a bizarre Indian Catholic ritual performed in full drag, and a trip to the temple of Konarak. They also encounter and question two "hippie" Frenchmen who have dropped out of Western society and moved to India as wanderers.
About the Speaker
Arvind Rajagopal's scholarly work is at the intersection of sociology, cultural history and media theory, and explores the history of publicity and political aesthetics as seen from the global south. His archives are in or from South Asia, the United Kingdom and the United States. His book Politics After Television: Hindu Nationalism and the Reshaping of the Public in India (Cambridge, 2001) won the Ananda Kentish Coomaraswamy Prize from the Association of Asian Studies in 2003, and his edited volume The Indian Public Sphere appeared in 2009. Recent articles include "The Emergency and the New Indian Middle Class" in Modern Asian Studies, 2011, and "Special Political Zone" on the anti-Muslim violence in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, in South Asian History and Culture, 2011, and a paper on the history of advertising in India, "State Ventriloquism (under review). His latest book, under contract with Duke University Press, is on the political culture of post-independence India. He has held fellowships at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University, the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, and the Institute for Advanced Studies in Princeton. As well, he has been a visiting professor at the University of Goettingen, Germany, the Delhi School of Economics at the University of Delhi, and the Central University of Hyderabad. He is a Professor in the Department of Media, Culture and Communication, and an affiliate faculty in the Department of Sociology, and the Department of Social and Cultural Analysis, at New York University.