SIFF Cinema, Seattle – Saturday, October 5th – 7:00 PM
Hues of Red (Chayilyam), Manoj Kana, 2013, Malayalam, 90 min
Chayilyam is about the ‘shades of red’ that go into the feminine: in the film it takes various forms like the blood-red of the menstrual blood, the flag-red of radical movement, the violent-red of murder, the bright-red of Theyyam costume (Theyyam is a traditional folk art form of Kerala, India), the red of anger, the dark red of earth and tradition, the blood of female tears and resistance etc. At the centre of the narrative is Gouri, who ‘attains’ goddess status when the goddess begins to speak and dance through her and her menstruation comes to a premature end. A widow recovering from the shock of her husband’s death, she is pulled apart by various social forces in different directions: while the society worships and makes a goddess out of her, her father in law who is also a traditional medical practitioner wants to bring her back to normal life. As for her, she neither wants to be a goddess or an idol, but an ordinary woman and mother to her son. Finally she manages to cast away the burden of social customs and breaks free to find herself and her feminine self.
Set in North Malabar, Kerala, India, the film draws from the orgasmic performative energy of Theyyam, the ritual performance in which gods and goddesses, and the valiant dead come to life in vibrant forms and figures. Traditionally, in the case of most of the Theyyam, the goddesses are performed by men. This film is based on the legend of a sole goddess who is performed by female performers. Chayilyam draws its narrative energy and form from various aspects of Theyyam performance: its roots in the legends and collective unconscious, myths about female goddesses, the costumes, penances, dance movements, chanting and rituals that accompany it.
Chayilyam celebrates the various shades of red in the feminine, through the rebellion of Gouri and her assertion and rediscovery of her femininity.
Chayilyam is the debut film by Manoj Kana, who hails from the same locality, and has rich experience in all departments of theatre. This film was funded by donations from thousands of people in Kerala and from abroad.
Chayilyam was premiered at the 17th International Film Festival of Kerala (IFFK), India on December 10, 2012. It was shown in the Malayalam Film Today Section of the IFFK, which won the Debut Indian Director Award for its director – Mr. Manoj Kana.
Chayilyam is also selected for many National and International Film Festivals in both India and abroad, such as The Chennail International Film Festival, Chennai, India, The Bangalore International Film Festival, Bangalore, India, The Delhi International Film Festival, Delhi, India etc.
Shameless, Geeta Malik, 2013, English, 4 min
Geeta Malik Shameless is a short movie about a woman on trial for prostitution turns the tables on her accusers.
Geeta Malik received her Master of Fine Arts from UCLA’s graduate film program in Production with an emphasis on directing. She wrote and directed the viral narrative short, Aunty Gs, which earned a College Television Award (a “student Emmy”) in comedy production from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Her short film, Beast, played at Method Fest and the Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles. Geeta is a recipient of the Edie and Lew Wasserman Film Production Award, the Coppel Screenwriting Award and the Jack Nicholson Distinguished Director Award.
Geeta directed segments for Showbiz India Television, a nationally broadcast newsmagazine featuring the Indian Film Industry. She has also consulted for the MY HERO Project, a nonprofit organization dedicated to social activism and media arts education around the globe.
Geeta’s first feature film, Troublemaker, premiered at the 2011 Cinequest Film Festival, and is distributed by Asian Crush. In 2012, Geeta was a finalist for the ABC/Disney Directing Fellowship.