Recent Films of Amit Dutta

Recent Films of Amit Dutta

  Online Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive

Starts April 30, 2021

“Cinema becomes a way of searching and learning through culture, history, music, beauty and eventually truth.” — Amit Dutta, Many Questions to Myself

Indian filmmaker and writer Amit Dutta has created his own distinctive cinema through deep explorations of India’s artistic, literary, and cultural traditions, both contemporary and historical. This season we showcase his recent shorts and features, including the premiere of If I go, where do I go?, featuring five visits with Hindi experimental writer Krishna Baldev Vaid. We return as well to his landmark Nainsukh, on the eighteenth-century painter. That 2010 film first took Dutta back to the Kangra Valley near his childhood home, a land from which he has since drawn much of his inspiration. Dutta, who characterizes his films as research- and process-based, notes: “I became very interested in indigenous knowledge systems and the workings of tribal/folk and classical modes. How could these systems produce such stunning works? What was the source?” Shambhavi Kaul describes his varied films as “travers[ing] genres, moving effortlessly from crafted scenario to spontaneous encounter, from mindful self-reflexivity to ghostly magic.” Whether in sensuous tracking shots past paintings on gallery walls or ancient sculptures in their original setting; animations of artworks that reveal their underlying effects; moments of improvised acting; or expeditions and visits with unanticipated results, Dutta’s evocative films find new and beautiful expression in dialogue with their subjects.

In 2017 BAMPFA presented several of Dutta’s films on Indian art in conjunction with the exhibition Divine Visions, Earthly Pleasures: Five Hundred Years of Indian Painting. View artworks from the BAMPFA collection in the exhibition brochure, written by guest curator Robert Del Bontà.

Series organized by Film Curator Kathy Geritz and cosponsored by the Institute for South Asian Studies at UC Berkeley. BAMPFA thanks Tom Vick, curator of film, Freer and Sackler Galleries, Smithsonian Institution.