Berlinale: Programme

Film file



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It’s hard not to be frightened at how the sparks fly between chaotically knotted cables and dangerous fingers of flame lick away at the old transformers, as elderly men call upon the younger ones to pour a little water on the source of the fire. Suddenly, everything goes black. In Kanpur, India's former leather capital, blackouts frequently take up more of the time in some districts than hours of normal electrical service. That is why Loha Singh – a latter-day Robin Hood – has made it his life's task to supply the poorer families and ruffled small-time entrepreneurs with power in such a bizarre manner. His direct adversary is the woman at the top of the state energy supplier Kesco, even if Mrs. Ritu Maheshwari is by no means the villain in this film. These two protagonists are merely the lead dancers in an operetta which comes across as totally insane. Powerless is a documentary film about the electrical supply in an Indian city, the story unfurling along the tangled wires and tracing out lines of conflict of a diabolical complexity in the process.

India 2013, 80 min


Fahad Mustafa, Deepti Kakkar