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by Natasha de Betak
color, 65 min, 2008
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I shall be gone and live or
stay and die. - Shakespeare
A man named Deva in a region named Kutch.
Mother nature made him insane...
His mother chained him to a tree...
Ten years lapsed.
Mother nature created an earthquake...
That made him sane again.
Speaking Tree is a beautiful film about a man named Deva who looses his mind while grazing camels in the desert of Northwestern India. As a result of his madness, he is chained to a tree for nearly a decade and cared for by his mother and brother. When an earthquake devastates the region, leaving tens of thousands dead and millions homeless, Deva regains his sanity and attempts to adapt to his former way of life.
From five years of candid observation of Deva, interviews with Deva's family and footage of contemporary Indian village life, filmmaker Natasha de Betak weaves a compassionate and visually stunning account of the fragile man's bout with insanity and his struggle to come to terms with his newly regained clarity of mind.
Film Festivals, Screenings, Awards
World Premiere, International Documentary Festival Amsterdam, July 2007
Indo-American Arts Council Film Festival, New York, November 2007
Hermes Film Forum, Tokyo, January 2008
Paris Film Festival, Paris, March 2008
International Women's Film Festival, Cologne & Dortmund, April 2008
9th Sichuan Film Festival, China, April 2008
Special Screening at Museum OF Fine Arts, Boston, June 2008
Official Selection, Global Arts Film Festival (GAFFERS), 2008
Astra Film Festival, Romania, 2009