DER Documentary

Songs of a Sorrowful Man

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by Lina Fruzzetti, Ákos Östör, Aditi Nath Sarkar
color, 35 min, 2009

Non-profit, K-12, and Individual pricing also available
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Lina Fruzzetti and Ákos Östör began a major film project in 2001, documenting the revival of an ancient tradition in India: scroll painting and the singing of stories depicted in the scrolls. The result was the award winning film Singing Pictures, released in 2006.

The current film is a follow-up to the previous one and deals with the life and work of a painter, composer, singer, well known in rural West Bengal, as a poet and mystic of legendary proportions.

Dukhushyam is a charismatic figure, one who has departed from convention in many ways, most importantly in encouraging women to take up the traditional craft of scroll painting and musical composition pursued almost exclusively by men before. Singing Pictures was about the trials and ultimate triumph of 15 women in the village of Naya, all of them his students, who formed a cooperative to practice the ancient craft of painting scrolls, composing and performing the songs accompanying the scrolls.

In a series of edited sequences the new film chronicles Dukhushyam's vision of the decline and rebirth of his art; his tolerant Sufi Muslim spirituality; his engagement with Hindus, Muslims and the modern world; his encyclopedic knowledge of changing musical and painting histories and techniques; the influence of his beliefs on his way of life, and his teachings for future generations of painters and singers in his community.

Film Festivals, Screenings, Awards
Worldfilm - Tartu Festival of Visual Culture, Estonia, 2010
International Ethnographic Film Festival of Quebec (FIFEQ), Canada, 2010
Göttingen International Ethnographic Film Festival, Germany, 2010

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Related Films
Singing Pictures
Mystic Vision, Sacred Art
Peasant Painter (Pintor Campesino)
The Sound of Old Rooms

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