EP 222 . 03 Nov 21

A film artist

With Ashish Avikunthak

In the episode

  1. Who is a film artist? What is the difference between a film maker and a film artist?
  2. Do you ever need to explain your films? What is your definition of abstract? How abstract is abstract for you?
  3. Any movement can be a scene. For eg: in “Performing Death”, there are 2 shots. How do you envision this? When do you say “cut”? Do you have scripts for such films? Or they just grow organically in your head like a painting?
  4. I was watching an interview of Abbas Kiarostami shared by MUBI the other day. I am paraphrasing loosely… “he prefers films that put their audience to sleep in the theatre, but those are the films that keep you awake all night. You can’t forget them easily. In fact they are playing so much in your mind that you feel cheated at times…” How do you arrive at it? Through temporality?
  5. What is temporality according to you? What is the core reason for you to make films which make people aware of time? Do long single shots help in achieving it? Can you add drama, while you are dealing with temporality?
  6. Your films try and express truth like death, facts of life like in “soliloquy”. Isn’t cinema sort of a hack to loose time? As Godard says, ever edit is a lie. A film is a lie, isn’t it? Do you struggle with that all the time?
  7. I did an interview with Amrit Gangar. He quoted Kumar Sahani saying, a film need not be watched all the time. It can simply be heard at times also. In one of your talks you mentioned, you trying to move aways from speech but trying to bring orality. Can you please explain this in detail?
  8. You have spoken about circularity in Kali. Can you share something about this technique?
  9. For an artist, it is about self expression through some medium. Here you are dealing with multiple media. How do you handle that? Is there a conflict while expressing due to so many levers in the medium?
  10. After watching your film Etcetera, I am not going to ask what is it. But for people like me (layman to art), it’s an obvious question. But, what question is worth asking that would makes sense to a film artist or in general any artist?

About Ashish Avikunthak

Ashish Avikunthak is a film artist. He has been making films for the past 25 years. His films have been shown worldwide in film festivals, galleries and museums. He has a PhD in Cultural and Social Anthropology from Stanford University and has earlier taught at Yale University. He is now an Associate Professor in Film/Media at Harrington School of Communication, University of Rhode Island.

All his films are on MUBI. Head on over to MUBI.com after this episode.