Author:Vlad Naumescu (Central European University)
Paper short abstract:
Bread of Life series consists of two short documentaries about modes of Christian devotion and spiritual pursuit in South India today. The films explore Orthodox Sunday schools and Christian ashrams, taking a different cinematic approach in each case to grasp their distinct rhythms of prayer.
Paper long abstract:
'The Word'follows thirteen-year-old Aleesha, an ambitious pupil of a Jacobite Orthodox Sunday School in Ernakulam (Kochi) who takes part in an elocution contest with a speech about Jesus as the Bread of Life. Sincere speech has often been seen as a marker of genuine belief in Christianity and its persuasive power resonates well with Keralite oratory. High expectations and huge emotional pressure surround Aleesha - but what will happen on the day of the Big Contest?
'The Silence' guides us through the everyday life of a contemplative Syro-Malankara ashram- one of the few islands of silence in an extremely vocal society. Monks try to dwell in this stillness while pursuing their daily chores and welcoming visitors. The film camera breaks the silence for a moment as the monks decide to send a video letter to the family of the founder, Francis Mahieu (Acharya) on the occasion of a family reunion in Belgium. This ffers them the opportunity to reflect on their lives, his heritage and the challenge of finding someone to follow in his steps.
Visualizing futures: audio-visual practices for a contemporary anthropology