The Films of Amit Dutta

The Films of Amit Dutta

Artist Cinemas

Courtesy of Artist Cinemas. 

April 18, 2022
The Films of Amit Dutta
Last day repeat screenings
April 18, 2022
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Join us on e-flux Video & Film on Monday, April 18 for the repeat screenings and wrap of The Films of Amit Dutta, a program of six selections of the filmmaker’s works put together by artist Iman Issa as the tenth edition of the online series Artist Cinemas, and accompanied by a six-part converstaion between Iman and Amit.

The films will stream through Tuesday, April 19, 12pm EDT, available here.

Thank you for watching, and for reading!

The Films of Amit Dutta
Accompanied by a six-part conversation between Amit Dutta and Iman Issa

Scenes from a Sketchbook (2016, 21 minutes) is based on and inspired by the tinted brush drawings, sketches, and some finished yet minimalistic works of the eighteenth-century master miniature painter Nainsukh. Even in some of his finished paintings, the artist did not hide his corrections and aforethoughts, which he allowed to show through a mostly untouched stark page. This film attempts to do the same.

Nainsukh (2010, 82 minutes) delves into the mid-18th century, where an extraordinary master painter from the Himalayan foothills of Guler sets out on a journey to meet his patron in the small hill-state of Jasrota. He finds his match in the eccentric employ of Balwant Singh, the only remaining testimony of which are the painter’s intimately observant portraits of his employer.

In Chitrashala (2015, 19 minutes), when a gallery of paintings becomes emptied of its spectators, the curtains rise within the paintings.

The Unknown Craftsman (2017, 88 minutes) recounts a story taking place towards the end of the eighth century, when an architect journeys across the mountains of the Lower Himalayas in search of the perfect site for constructing a temple, envisioned not merely as a place of worship but also as a monumental record capable of crystallizing the collective accomplishment of a civilization. Is he equal to the task? He faces his own fears while the forces of nature test his learning along the path. When he arrives at the destination, mysterious apprentices assist him; but the work attains perfection midway and remains unfinished.

The Museum of Imagination: A Portrait in Absentia (2012, 20 minutes) came into being as a result of several conversations the filmmaker recorded with Prof. B.N. Goswamy, an important art historian of India, covering his entire body of work. Interspersed with his speech were also some silences. This film draws upon some of those moments of silence and weaves them into a web of ideas and images that fill the art historian’s mindscape. 

Mother, Who Will Weave Now? (2022, 25 minutes) attempts to sample and mirror the grand tapestry of Indian textile tradition and history by interweaving snippets of Indian cloth on an editing table, using the poetic meters of classical Indian literature sewn together with the words and motifs of the weaver-saint Kabir.

About the program  
“There are occasions when an encounter with another artist’s work leaves you with a feeling that you may describe, for lack of a better word, as an affinity with that work. An affinity is not a matter of simply admiring or respecting another maker’s work, but a far stranger feeling. It is a contradictory sense of being both attuned to a work’s deepest reasons for existing as well as amazed that it actually exists. Feeling an affinity with a work might make you think that you are able to fully grasp its logic. This, however, is accompanied by the discernment of an impossibility inherent to the work, drilled in again and again, with each new encounter, by a recognition of its absolute peculiarity. You attribute to the work an uncanniness that comes from an inability to believe that someone has thought to make such a work, in that way, taking that form, which strikes you as both disturbingly familiar and utterly alien. You may even believe that, under different circumstances, you would have made similar work yourself, while knowing perfectly well that you could never have thought to do so.” (Read Iman Issa’s full text here.)

The Films of Amit Dutta is a program put together by Iman Issa as the tenth cycle of the series Artist Cinemas. It ran for six weeks from March 7 through April 18, 2022, streaming six films by Amit Dutta accompanied by a six-part conversation between Dutta and Issa, released over six weekly episodes.

The Films of Amit Dutta wraps on Monday, April 18 with a repeat streaming of all six films featured in the program, streaming thorugh Tuesday, April 19, 12pm EDT.  Watch the films here.

About Artist Cinemas      
Artist Cinemas is a new e-flux platform focusing on exploring the moving image as understood by people who make film. It is informed by the vulnerability and enchantment of the artistic process—producing non-linear forms of knowledge and expertise that exist outside of academic or institutional frameworks. It will also acknowledge the circles of friendship and mutual inspiration that bind the artistic community. Over time this platform will trace new contours and produce different understandings of the moving image.

For more information, contact program [​at​]

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