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CITY OF PHOTOS

60 min/India/2004

Synopsis

CITY OF PHOTOS explores the little known ethos of neighborhood photo studios in Indian cities, discovering entire imaginary worlds in the smallest of spaces. Tiny, shabby studios that appear stuck in a time warp turn out to be places throbbing with energy. As full of surprises as the people who frequent these studios are the backdrops they enjoy posing against and the props they choose. These afford fascinating glimpses into individual fantasies and popular tastes.

Direction & Editing: Nishtha Jain

Cinematography: Deepti Gupta

Research and Script: Nishtha Jain & Smriti Nevatia

Commentary: Smriti Nevatia

Music: Debojyoti Mishra

Voice: Nishtha Jain

Audiography: Dipankar Chaki, Gissy Michael & Gautam Nag

Produced by: Raintree Films, India

 

This documentary was realised with the support of India Foundation

for the Arts, Bangalore & Jan Vrijaman Fund, Amsterdam

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“City of Photos captures in a smart way much of the flavour and character I know of India  and is a modern meditation on image-making, family, memory, rituals.”

- Peter Wintonick, Canadian Documentary Filmmaker

“Brilliantly insightful, poignant, and powerful. Nishtha has demonstrated how much more one can do with film than perhaps any other media. I loved the scrutiny of individual images, the juxtapositions, and was especially struck by her evidently fantastic interpersonal skills.”

– Chris Pinney, author of Camera Indica

“City of Photos is a layered and complex journey into the neighbourhood studio accompanied by a lyrical narrative...A play between what seem like opposites — order and chaos, past and present, or reality and fantasy runs through the film.”

– The Hindu, Bangalore, India

‘The jury selects for a special commendation, City of Photos by Nishtha Jain from India for  making a multi-layered film, for its skillful attention to form and for making a highly reflective film about the nature of representation itself.’

-Film South Asia Award Citation

 “The film is lyrical, thoughtful and thought-provoking. There is a synergy here between the visuals, the commentary and the suggestive sound track that is rare in documentary. Jain manages the irony of using the moving image to capture the image that is already still with equanimity and a certain grace, treating the viewer almost as a photographic plate upon which her impressions are recorded.”

 

–Arshiya Sattar, Openspace

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