Siddeshwari

Posted by | Conversations at the Edge | Posted on | March 6, 2003

Thursday, March 6, 2003, 8pm

Mani Kaul in person!

The second Conversations at the Edge offering from Indian experimental cinema pioneer Mani Kaul (Department of Film, Video & New Media Artist-in-Residence, Spring 2003) is Siddeshwari.  Based on the life of legendary singer Siddeshwari Devi (1903-77), India’s leading exponent of the classical thumri tradition, Kaul’s biographic film brilliantly blends fiction with documentary and structures the singer’s life like a piece of thumri music itself. Key moments from her story are interwoven with evocations of the music’s mythic past and the compelling textures of life and death in Benares. As lyrics of the songs begin to redirect Kaul’s camera eye, extraordinary images are evoked and the film begins to poetically render the ways in which music transfigured the singer’s life. The film ends with footage from Siddeshwari’s only television appearance—a ghostly presence from a distant past accessed through a technology momentarily attuned to the world of her music (Description courtesy of Harvard Film Archive). 1989, Mani Kaul, India, 92 min, 35mm.

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