If a feature film requires a dog and this dog effectively ‘casts’ itself and shows up at the director’s front door every morning right on time for the duration of the shoot – then it must be an Indian production. This is just one of the ‘1001’ stories that Prabhat pheri tells as a form of documentary myth. With the curiosity of a true cinephile, the film explores the history of the compound in Pune where the legendary studios of the Prabhat Film Company once stood – and the ways in which this place, now home to the National Film Archive and film school, was defended against forces hostile to film. It tells of the Maharaja who offered his palace as a film set but wanted to act as director in exchange; of the treasure trove of silver nitrate negatives rediscovered under the stairs and the current film student protests; of a director reborn as a snake, the unrivalled improvisational talent of Indian film historians and quirky film set workers and famous directors. The film itself is a treasure chest brimming with film historical gems, whose beauty can be appreciated by laypeople and experts alike.
India 2014, 89 min
Jessica Sadana, Samarth Dixit
© Internationale Filmfestspiele Berlin