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AFTERNOON CLOUDS BY PAYAL KAPADIA

Curated by Deepti Rao

When a singular flower blooms on a warm afternoon, a 60-year-old widow, Kaki, and her live-in maid, Malti, glide through a day of memories, dreams, reality and fantasies. This precisely shot 13-minute short fiction film by young Indian filmmaker Payal Kapadia masterfully creates a mood so clear and yet so elusive. It reminds me of a summer afternoon I might have spent with my grandparents, memories of which are strongly set in my mind but are so hazy at the same time. 

Afternoon Clouds is a quiet film without much of a plot. Watching it I am amazed at how it instantly draws you into the mood and world of the characters. The mise en scene of the film is simple yet striking giving you a vivid idea of this filmmaker’s style, which reminds me of the Thai director Apichatpong Weerasethakul*. In an interview, Kapadia says she draws attention through the film to the fact that women in India don’t freely talk about love, that there is always a hesitation to be candid about their sexuality. And this is true across social classes – for Kaki and Malti alike.   

The film is available free to watch online until June 9th on a new initiative called the Viewing Room by an independent film festival in the Himalayas called the Dharamshala International Film Festival. They have a new line-up every two weeks of compelling independent films mostly from South Asia.  

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Apichatpong Weerasethakul who?
He is an award-winning Thai filmmaker and artist whose work often deals with memory and its non-linear narratives. If you get the chance don’t miss 
Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives (2010) and Cemetary of Splendor (2016). 

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