Film screening | Behind every curtain: feminist practice in India

The Fifth Wall

Behind every curtain | Navina Sundaram | 1989 | 43:43 min. | German OV with English subtitles

Film screening followed by discussion in English.

Navina Sundaram’s Behind every curtain documents a theatre workshop in 1989 in Kasauli, India. Theatre practitioners and representatives from literature, art, music and feminist theory are developing a scenic manifesto from biographical stories that combine mythological female figures with contemporary theories of feminism. They want to break up clichéd images, shift accents, change history and create a new theatre form between self-representation and agitprop. Much like the “Workspace” of the archive The Fifth Wall, the documentary highlights a collaborative approach, made vulnerable and vibrant as a result of its distributed authorship.
A discussion between Madhusree Dutta and Ponni Arasu will carry forward the porosity of the film into the cinema space, stitching together the past and present.

Gäste: Madhusree Dutta (filmmaker, author and curator ) & Ponni Arasu (queer feminist performer, activist, researcher )

Madhusree Dutta
Madhusree Dutta is a filmmaker, curator and author. From 1996 to 2015, she was artistic director and director of the Majlis Cultural Centre in Mumbai, India. In 2018, she took over as artistic director of the Academy of the Arts of the World in Cologne. She has initiated many archival projects both in Mumbai and Cologne. Her 1993 debut film was I Live in Behrampada, and her 2006 film Seven Islands and a Metro was one of the first documentaries to be screened in cinemas in India. Her films have received three national film awards, and retrospectives of her work have been screened at national and international film festivals.

Ponni Arasu
Ponni Arasu is trained in many traditional Tamil folk forms, theatre of the oppressed, forum theatre, Butoh, the Grotowski school of theatre and contemporary dance/movement practices evolved by indigenous artists in Canada. Since getting on stage at the age of 12, she has worked with A. Mangai, feminist theatre director in Tamil Nadu and the Marappachchi Feminist theatre collective. She worked with directors in Delhi during her studies there. Her theatre practice emerges from and is a part of movements for social justice and change. She is an Expressive Arts Therapist with a practice in marginalised community settings for which she received the Arts as Catalyst Fellowship. Her theatre practice as a method threads together her work as a teacher, activist and researcher and as a container holds the processes of working towards justice, peace and collective care. Her most recent works include Just Breathe and The walk, both one woman performance art pieces.


programme booklet for the exhibition



Thursday, July 11
7.30 pm
Registration here