If from Every Tongue It Drips

If from Every Tongue It Drips is a hybrid documentary film that uses the framework of quantum physics to explore the ways that personal relationships and political movements at once transcend and challenge time, space, identity, and location. The film follows the lives of a couple living in Batticaloa, Sri Lanka; Ponni writes Rekhti, a form of 19th-century, Urdu, queer poetry; the other, Sarala, is the camera operator. As their personal lives unfold on camera, the lines between rehearsal and reality, location and distance, self and other dissipate and reinforce one another. Simultaneously, through the poet and the camera operator’s daily lives, interconnections between British colonialism, Indian nationalism, and the impact of both on contemporary poetry, dance, and music in South Asia are revealed.
If from Every Tongue It Drips explores both literal and figural translation as multiple ways of looking, embedded within the filmmaking process, conducted through a call and response exchange of sound, text, and image between Montreal, Batticaloa, and the Isle of Skye.
The film process included working with Glasgow-based Collective Text to integrate captions into the film.
by Sharlene Bamboat
with Ponni Arasu, Sarala Emmanuel
Canada / United Kingdom / Sri Lanka 2021 Urdu, English, Tamil 68’ Colour


  • Ponni Arasu
  • Sarala Emmanuel


Director Sharlene Bamboat
Screenplay Sharlene Bamboat, Muhammad Nour ElKhairy, Richy Carey, Sarala Emmanuel, Ponni Arasu, Emilia Beatriz
Cinematography Sarala Emmanuel
Editing Muhammad Nour ElKhairy
Sound Design Richy Carey
Sound Richy Carey
Texts Emilia Beatriz
Producer Sharlene Bamboat

World sales

Sharlene Bamboat

Produced by

Sharlene Bamboat

Sharlene Bamboat

Sharlene Bamboat is a moving image and installation artist based in Tio’tia:ke (Montreal). Her practice often engages with translation, history, and music, uncovering sensory and fractured ways of knowing. She regularly collaborates with artists, musicians, and writers to animate historical, political, legal, and pop-culture materials. Bamboat’s work has been exhibited internationally, including at the International Film Festival Rotterdam, Art of the Real, New York, Mantiq of the Mantis, Lahore, the Sharjah Film Platform, Mercer Union, Toronto, and Henry Art Gallery, Seattle.


2017 The Wind Sleeps Standing Up; 12 min. 2018 Special Works School; with Alexis Mitchell, 28 min., Forum Expanded 2018 · Video Home System; 20 min. 2019 Bugs & Beasts Before the Law; 33 min. 2021 If from Every Tongue It Drips

Bio- & filmography as of Berlinale 2022