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A package of international films, addressing conflict caused by issues of nationality, ethnicity, gender and sexual identity, family and migration, will be screened and discussed as part of “Identity And Conflict: Expressions Through Cinema", a two-day programme starting Friday at the Goethe-Institut/Max Mueller Bhavan in Chennai.

Helmut Schippert, director of the Goethe-Institut in Chennai, says the theme of identity and conflict is relevant in South Asian countries in many ways—whether it’s people’s experience with war in countries like Pakistan and Afghanistan, or the power equation between a man and a woman, within the context of a family, in India.

Four curators collaborated on the programme, which will feature nine documentaries—Marc Siegel, assistant professor of film studies, department of theatre, film and media studies, at the Goethe University in Frankfurt, Germany; actor-film-maker Susanne Sachsse; Stefanie Schulte Strathaus, a film and video curator; and Sri Lanka-based documentary film-maker Anoma Rajakaruna. Siegel, Sachsse and Strathaus will be present to discuss the films.

“We are all film-goers and watch a lot of cinema, so there is a large body of films that we know of. The three of us worked together in Germany and came up with a set of recommended films that we then exchanged with Anoma. We discussed the films that connected with her and she sent back a set of films as well," says Siegel.

The programme, which has travelled to Kolkata, New Delhi and Pune, will travel to Mumbai from Chennai. “These films don’t simply depict narratives of conflict. They abstract from conflict to reflect on cinematic language and the tools that film-makers use to do that," says Siegel.

See: On Day 1, Whaled Women, a 2012, animated, satirical, 9-minute film from Sweden on immigration, will be shown. It will be followed by Siblings, an 82-minute film from Germany by Thomas Arslan. The 1997 film tells the story of two boys and a girl, born to a Turkish father and a German mother.

Day 2 opens with Natural Catastrophe Concert, a 3-minute, 1983 film about a group of experimental artistes in Berlin. It will be followed by Cairography, a 19-minute, 2013 film from Egypt which looks at the harassment and other issues that women have to contend with in public spaces every day.

Among the films recommended by Rajakaruna are Naheed’s Story, a 20-minute, 2001 film made by Beena Sarwar from Pakistan, and Chathurika Nimalachandra’s Dolls, an 8-minute, 2008 film from Sri Lanka.

“Identity And Conflict: Expressions Through Cinema" will be held from 27-28 March, 7-9pm, at Goethe-Institut/Max Mueller Bhavan, 5th Street, Rutland Gate, Chennai (28332343); and from 31 March-1 April, 6-9pm, at Kala Ghoda, Mumbai (22027710). Seating on first-come, first-served basis.

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