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A still from the film 'Tree of Tongues in Tripura.' Youtube

Kolkata, Nov 16, 2016: As the grand celebration of cinema in the 22nd Kolkata International Film Festival keeps the city of joy brimming with the movie-buffs, the days keep getting better with the screenings of some of the precisely selected exquisite creations by some excellent artists.

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Morning of 14th November saw the screening of the film ‘Tree of Tongues in Tripura’, directed by the National Awards winner Joshy Joseph. Joseph is currently the deputy director general in-charge of the Films Division. He is a self-taught filmmaker who has made several documentaries on multiple subjects and is the proud winner of the National Awards for four of his projects. ‘Imaginary Line’ is one of his famous feature films and his latest feature-length documentary is- ‘One Day from A Hangman’s life’.


Director of Tree of Tongues in Tripura- Joshy Joseph. Youtube

‘Tree of Tongues in Tripura’ is a movie that is realized, triggered, discussed and conceived at a workshop on film-making at the Tripura University in Agartala. The film is about story-telling- one of the most delicate human urges and creativity.

Dedicated to the special narrative zone of Mahasweta Devi and the zone of Andrei Tarkovsky (as shown in the credits in the screening of the film in KIFF); the film explores the journey of the story-teller John meeting with an old tribal man, Thanga Darlong, who is a musician-playing the ‘Rosem’ flute and John introduces him as his grandfather to the team of his film that captures the music, life, and struggle of Darlong.

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Thanga Darlong in a still from the film. (Antara/ NewsGram)

As the film proceeds, the audience is made aware along with the film-making team on the movie that Darlong is not John’s grandfather but a friend of his late grandfather and being interested in him and his music, John has started the venture of knowing about Darlong and helping him in some ways. He also talks about meeting with Darlong’s actual grandson and taking help from the research on Darlong by Benjamin of the Tripura University. The film also views another tribal musician- Saudagar. When the narrative in the movie faces a crisis the frame captures the musicians, turn by turn, breathing in some wonderful tribal tunes.

Opening with a beautiful frame and stills from tribal people and their lives in Tripura, the film projects the flashes and fragmentary frames of a storm. Music is in the air of Tripura and stories exist in the breath of the wind. The narrative gets going and there are intervals filled with beautiful poems and magnificent music.


A still from the film

The film is a subtle and simple yet beautiful portrayal of the art of story-telling and the lives of the tribal musician. It is featured in the category of the ‘International Competition for Innovation in Moving Images’ in the film festival. It is produced by the Film Division, Govt. of India and edited by Sumit Ghosh. The cinematographer is Manesh Madhavan and the screenplay is by- Sumit ghosh and Nanita Nayak Chopra.

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Kudos to all the actors and the team of the film and the director- Joshy Joseph, for introducing the audience with such a wonderful project. Also, huge applause to the Kolkata International Film Festival for selecting Joseph’s work to be screened in the festival!

– by Antara Kumar of NewsGram. Twitter: @ElaanaC


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