Who teaches whom?

Its that time of year when people turn to film appreciation, with two-three major fests in India and so much debate/discussion on the worth of ‘good cinema’. Over the next 10 days, am designing a filmmaking workshop for women and attending another workshop where am supposed to handle the segment on Short Films – both in Kerala. Wonderful opportunities but they leave me wondering if I know anything enough to teach! When I was at film school, on the teaching staff room door there was a poster which proclaimed:

THOSE WHO CANT, TEACH

THOSE WHO CANT TEACH, TEACH GYM

THOSE WHO CANT TEACH GYM, TEACH AT FILM SCHOOL!

Ha! Many chuckles on that one… its always been so easy to make evident one’s boredom in insipid classes (YAWN!) and to walk out of one never to return! But now the tables are turned and am wondering how I should keep those bums on seats. Time to atone for all those classes I cut… No clue if I would be good, bad or ugly at it. Personally I don’t think much can be taught about filmmaking (besides technicals) but there’s plenty to learn. So what I hope is to create an environment that may breed some open irreverent thought on film. My attention span is rather tiny so the biggest challenge would be to for me not to yawn…

One of my favourite classes at London Film School was conducted by Alan Bernstein on Wednesday mornings. He showed us a film in the cinema and then deconstructed it with us. Being in a dark cinema, it was the easiest class to bunk and I have bunked quite a few. Only problem was that with this class, I always knew that I was the one losing out. Last year when I first saw the FIPRESCI review of my debut film Manjadikuru, the first person I sent it to was Alan. That should tell you how good he was.

Looking back, what made it special was the interest he took in each of us and our individual interpretation to film. Taking the cue, I enquired about the members for the women’s workshop – apparently someone is flying in from abroad to just attend the workshop… another one fighting the constraints of a conservative family to attend a three day workshop… yet another who wants to walk out of a lucrative career into film… and suddenly this seems more like an opportunity for me to learn.🙂

19 thoughts on “Who teaches whom?

  1. dear mam……
    am ambilivijayan from oman working as drawing teacher cum drress designer.am also interested in writing poems.I would like to take part in your future work shope

  2. Dear Anjali,
    I’m grateful for your kind words earlier.I tried to help out to the best of my abilities…and yet if there were any inconveniences caused by me, i apologize for them.

    Please do not think that I am pushing or pestering you but just to be sure of it I’m writing to inquire about the workshop … Is it still going to happen some day or the whole idea of it has been scrapped because of your busy schedule ? cos I can totally understand …Its just that a workshop by you would be too valuable to miss !

    • I still remember that first email and hope you have leaped on from there🙂
      Dont worry about the workshop – when it happens I’ll defly write about it. Also some of us are tossing a few ideas which can be real fun if it works out!
      Unfortunately I missed a couple of workshop opportunities in Kerala this month as I was catching up with work in Mumbai.

      Inshallah! hope to make it next time.

  3. UNFAIR.restricting this to WOMEN only is UNFAIR. Would there ever be a MEN ONLY film workshop? absolutely not. There’s a ton of men am sure would be keen to attend this workshop. And, there’s no end to learning about filmmaking.Heard about this workshop in a rima kallingal interview and been wanting to find more about this. And, dang, i now learn its for WOmen only! hope your staff rethinks and replans….

    • Thank you for your interest but UNFAIR?🙂 your remark reminds me of the old story of the man who cried that he didnt have shoes until he saw the man without feet…
      Perhaps if you would visit the blogpost “Woman, where art thou” and its comments, you may gain a perspective of the ‘fairer sex’ on the issue of fairness.

  4. Hi Ms.Anjali, this is Parvati Prakash. (I’ve interviewed you last year, right after you won the IFFK laurels for your film Manjadikuru…and recently, I was your Jury assistant at the 14th IFFK ) . Hope you got me. I’ve known about this workshop…am looking forwtheard to attend it. I was told by Mr. Biju that it might be sometime in the first week of Feb.. Could you please confirm the dates so that I can book my tickets. Am in bellary at the moment, staying with my parents.
    Please help… Thank you !

    • @Parvati, thank you for your efficiency @ IFFK 2009. Watch this space for more on workshops & sessions. Will post in advance. Chrs.
      @ Sabareesh, read the article, thanks – bit of a Malayali male bashing stance there! Check out Geeta Doctor’s article on the same entitled “Mundu, Meesha, Kumba, Koda”! It stands apart for its insight and gentle humour.

  5. ma’m, may i also attend the workshop….
    or just tell me where it is, who is organising it, if its not overyet. If its over and done, pl tell me when can i attend a class of yours or even a meeting… recently i saw both manjadikuru and your ‘Happy Journey’……… i am engineer from College of Engineering trivandrum…. Now i am doing my Ph.D in sociology… one of my areas of interet is feminism, the post modern expressions… Thank you

      • kerala cafe, i went to the theatre…. i tell you, people said ‘bridge’ was the best of the ten. I too admit it was great,full of realism, but slightly cliched. ‘ Happy journey ‘ was simply superb. Socially relevant , brilliantly enacted ( kudos to ambilly jagathy sreekumar whom i personally congratulated)humorously detailed and marvellously threaded piece of work . It shows how interesting, humorous and commanding a mallu girl can be in front the quixotic mallu male. Brilliant, Anjali…..

        please read this link, could be interesting to you…..
        http://www.tehelka.com/story_main43.asp?filename=hub071109the_double.asp
        I have never read such an interesting and humorously detailed description(maybe biased and exaggerated but never totally wrong) of the MALLU MALE……… maybe there is an element of reverse sexism but indeed its the ‘MALLU’ , who is the protagonist in this story….
        can be a structural fit into many of your future stories

  6. it’s a shame that the workshop is only for women!! can i get a podcast of the same?
    which is the better way to learn cinema? At film school or traditional way of practicing assistant to a director and struggle till the end?

  7. How do you think a film image should be?
    i have always tried to interpret an image. but when i saw tarkovsky’s films , i think each image of his films doesn’t mean more than that image itself, images which is full of life. i have certain ambiquity which i have developed regarding ‘what is an image.’

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