Let us introduce you to the indian director Payal Kapadia, who is participating in this year’s Berlinale Shorts competition.
Born in Mumbai, India in 1986, she is a filmmaker who initially studied economics and worked in advertising before, in 2012, taking up a degree in film directing at the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) in Pune. Payals short films have already screened at various festivals including the Cinéfondation at the 2017 Festival de Cannes. With her shortfilm „And What Is the Summer Saying„, the director is represented for the first time at Berlinale Shorts.
The film tells the story of an indian village: The summer has its own songs. Whispering softly, they make their way to us from the depths of the jungle. Once a tiger prowled the village. The father doesn’t tell his son about this, as he holds him tight. In calm takes that concede the jungle its beauty, stature and deep serenity, the images move between the immediate and the totality, between the all-too-human and the awareness of the gods who will protect the village. The stories that the villagers tell the director follow a similar order in their sequencing. One leads to the next by association, thus opening up a village cosmos in which the old coexists with the new. Suddenly they appear, the forest creatures – only to vanish the next moment. A strange smoke exudes from the ground, like a dream from a bygone era. ‘People only sing, when they are in love with someone,’ the woman whispers – the day is done. For a brief moment the film is bathed once again in colour.
What is your ambition in the film?
I am interested in that which is not easily seen or cannot be spoken about in the open. Secret desires, anxieties, and unspoken love are difficult for women to openly talk about in India. But if you sit quietly, waiting for the wind in the courtyard of the village, you might hear a whisper of a long lost love. I spent many days in this village, waiting for the wind to bring with it some strands of stories like leaves that fall in the forest floor.
What do you like about the short form?
What is exciting about the short film format is that it’s closest to poetry. Like a haiku, or a short poem, that has seemingly unrelated lines – where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. It doesn’t need to be explained. You look it at it, as it is. No need to ask: ‚And then?‘
What are your future plans?
The short format really excites me as it is so flexible and open. I am looking forward to try out the possibilities in feature films but also expanding to a cinematic experience which is not limited to the cinema.