A pioneering political work of contemporary relevance: Communal violence between Hindus and Muslims in 1984 forms the starting point for this film, whose complexity lends it immense political force. The film's historical perspective is provided by a thorough commentary, which gives the camera's particular presence the necessary depth and complexity. The mechanisms of political power struggles, the dynamics among those that hold power, and the instrumentalisation of economic relations and urban poverty make for a striking analysis, uniquely anticipating the subsequent development of communalist conflicts and the politics of marginalisation. The immediacy achieved by filming just as violence is unfolding juxtaposed with calm observations of the devastating consequences of living one's life during a state of emergency, thus reaching a level of respectful lyricism and contemplation that make the film much more than just a worthy reportage.
Kya hua is shahar ko? is being digitalised, restored and screened again for the first time in 27 years as part of the "Living Archive" project. A DVD including additional historical and contemporary material is due for release in June 2013.
India 1986, 90 min
© Internationale Filmfestspiele Berlin