How to find the essence of a moment with the camera? Magnum photographer Raghu Rai who, as a young man, was mentored by Henri Cartier-Bresson, seems to know the formula. For many decades, his intensive photographs have shaped the collective memory of India and far beyond. Rai’s images help us to profoundly understand that crises like the Bhopal disaster of 1984 or the excruciating ongoing conflict in Kashmir are by no means temporary news but events which dramatically and permanently affect the lives of the victims.
While working, the photographer appears distant, solely interested in the right camera angle, no matter whether his subject is a person hit by crisis, the greatly admired Mother Teresa, or a flock of seagulls. What may seem like aloof measuring and calculating is, in fact, an almost uncanny attentiveness and mindfulness with which he looks at the world, and to which his pictures owe their enduring integrity. Young filmmaker Avani Rai has captured all this. With a sharp aesthetic sense and a lot of gentle irony, she has assembled film and photo material to create this very personal portrait of – and a continuing conversation with – her father. Her film is supported and accompanied by a formidable sound design.
“You must point the lens to where the most birds are!” Raghu Rai’s eyes never rest and frequently he tries to instruct his daughter during the film shoot. Avani Rai presses the shutter button. A single bird flies through her picture. Both father and daughter find the essence of the moment, but each in their own way.
Angelika Betzold (for DOKUARTS)
IN/FI/NO 2017, Director/DoP: Avani Rai, Sound: Sushmit Bob Nath, Olli Pärnänen,
Editors: Menno Boerema, Archana Phadke, Producer: Iikka Vehkalahti, Music: Naren
Chandavarkar, Benedict Taylor, 55’ · DCP, Original w/ English subtitles, Berlin
Sat 13.10. at 5.30 pm
RAGHU RAI – AN UNFRAMED PORTRAIT: https://www.facebook.com/events/1872450229510214/