Fabulous Festival of Fringe Film 2012


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Friday, August 2, 2:00 pm, @ Durham Town Hall

Worlds Collide - Program 1: The World Before Her
Programmed by Myke Dyer

World before her
still from The World Before Her - Nisha Pahuja, 2012

The World Before Her, by director Nisha Pahuja, is set in India and focuses on the aspirations of two groups of desperate young woman struggling to break away from a society that views them as second class citizens. The film opens in the lobby of a modest Bombay hotel where 20 young women from across India arrive for an intense, month-long beauty boot camp. They are the hand-picked contestants for the Miss India pageant, the ultimate glamour event in a country that has gone mad for beauty contests. Winning the coveted title means instant stardom, a lucrative career path and, for some girls, freedom from the constraints of a patriarchal society. But as the popularity of pageants has exploded, so have the controversies surrounding them. Hindu fundamentalists view pageants and their “international” beauty standards as immoral and a symbol of the rapid Westernization of India.

As the contestants move through beauty boot camp, Pahuja travels to another corner of India to visit an annual camp for young girls run by the Durgha Vahini, the women’s wing of the militant fundamentalist movement. Through lectures and physical combat training, the girls learn what it means to be good Hindu women and how to fight against Islam, Christianity and Western influences by any means necessary. Until now, they have never been filmed. At the camp we meet a dynamic youth leader who has already fought on the front lines and says she is willing to die for her beliefs. Yet her passionate desire to work for the cause sparks constant household friction; her father insists she will marry and soon.

Moving between the transformative action at both camps and the characters’ private lives, The World Before Her creates a lively, provocative portrait of the world’s largest democracy at a critical transitional moment. These young women may represent opposing extremes but in their hearts they share a common dream: to help shape the future of India.


Afternoon Docs
(two programs)
program by Myke Dyer
This year we present two documentary films that look at opposites, films that consider the complexities of the world and the people and places that represent extreme positions. The topics of these films seem mythically connected, somehow united by their oppositeness. Through them we discover the wonders and contradictions of nature and people around the globe. The World Before Her, by director Nisha Pahuja and Vivans los Antipos by director Victor Kossakovsky.

PROGRAM 1- Friday
The World Before Her
Nisha Pahuja
Canada, 90 minutes, Colour (2012)

Weaving together the seemingly opposing stories of the Miss India beauty pageant and a fundamentalist Hindu camp for girls, director Nisha Pahuja illuminates the situation of women across contemporary India.

Nisha Pahuja
Nisha Pahuja
Nisha Pahuja
Nisha Pahuja

PROGRAM 2 - Sunday
¡Vivan las Antipodas!
Victor Kossakovsky
Russia, 104 minutes, Colour (2011)

Russian director Victor Kossakovsky’s kaleidoscopic documentary juxtaposes tranquil landscapes of Argentina with the clamour of Shanghai – two of eight “antipodes” explored in this beautifully rendered world-spanning film.

Victor Kossakovsky
Victor Kossakovsky