DIALOGUES 2012 – The Annual Calcutta LGBT Film & Video Festival

Tollywood actors

Rituparno Ghosh and Jishu Sengupta at Dialogues

Anirban dropped by Max Mueller Bhavan to watch the movies being screened at DIALOGUES the Annual Calcutta LGBT Film & Video Festival

I used to hear Kolkata is dead silent on any LGBT event. Although it may not be known in the party-circles but when it comes to any major annual event, the City of Joy is not way behind any-other metropolis of India. Dialogues 2012 will manifest such fact. The timing of this event coincided with the pride marches of Delhi and Bangalore. I had made a brief stop-over at Kolkata on 24th Nov 2012. The film festival was already running, having started the previous day and ending on 25th Nov 2012. So I had a chance to visit it and sneak into the event on 24th Nov 2012. The organizers had done a good job by holding the event in one of the most coveted places of the city- Max Mueller Bhavan, Kolkata. When I visited, I think multiple events were underway at Max Mueller Bhavan but Dialouges’2012 took the center-stage. I didn’t get a chance to have a glimpse at the entire line of movies but whatever I managed was really informative.

Here is a sneak preview of the movies that I managed to watch. In the afternoon a series of short films were lined up under the section-Dresden shorts. Out of all the short features in that section the one I liked the most is ‘Dik’-a contribution from Australia. The father of a six year old boy becomes anxious and impatient when he discovers ‘I lik tims dik’ on the boy’s class drawing assignment. He becomes extra-cautious when his son colours the grass pink instead of green. When the father takes up the matter with the mother the same night both of them jostles into their possible gay experiences. The comic associated with this short feature is quite impeccable especially the ending when the father discovers that ‘dik’ in ‘I like tims dik’ actually means bike and not what he thought it to be.

Another movie which caught my attention was ‘Eyes Wide Open’. This is a 2009 Israeli movie from the staples of the Israeli film director Haim Tabakman. It made an appearance at Cannes also. Aaron, married with four kids, lives in an ultra-orthodox Jewish neighbourhood. He reopens the family run butcher’s shop after his father’s death. A chance meeting with a homeless Yeshiva student, Ezri, who happens to visit his shop for a telephone call, changes the whole paradox of his life. Aaron offers to help Ezri as his apprentice when he discovers Ezri asleep in the local synagogue. The two men eventually become too close to each-other and end up in an intangible gay relationship. Aaron‘s wife Rivka, though suspicious, remains devoted to him. But the relationship between these two men doesn’t evade the eyeballs of the neighbourhood. Aaron is warned off Ezri’s non-righteousness and his ex-communication from the local Yeshiva, repeatedly. Flyers are circulated stating impure meat is being distributed in the neighbourhood. Being on the brink of a social and commercial boycott of Aaron family, both Aaron and Ezri realize it is time to go on their own separate ways. But just before this, Ezri encounters his former lover and even enters into a scuffle with him and local youths. The film ends with Aaron arriving at the spot to a take bath where Ezri had once invited him on the outskirts of the city.

I was willing to watch Rituparno Ghosh’s Chitrangada-A crowing wish in the concluding day but alas! I was southern bound to Orissa on the same day, but I indeed had an entertaining stay in Kolkata, thanks to Dialogues’ 2012.