films – Cinema Akil


There is Something in the Air + Altar of Fire
DIRECTED BY
Iram Ghufran + Robert Gardner
India, USA | | 29 mins, 24 mins | Documentary | English, Hindi, Urdu

-
There is Something in the Air 

By Iram Ghufran

There Is Something In The Air is a call from the periphery of sanity. This documentary essay is a series of dream narratives, and accounts of spiritual possession as experienced by women ‘petitioners’ at the shrine of a Sufi saint in north India. Drama unfolds via dreams, and appearances of djinns and disappearances of women. The shrine becomes a space of expressions of longing and transgression. The film invites the viewer to a fantastical world, where fear and desire is experienced through dreams and 'afflictions of air'. The shrine is a space where performance becomes the only rule of engagement, and one can begin to think of the possibilities that 'insanity' produces.


Altar of Fire

By Robert Gardner

This film records a 12 day ritual performed by Mambudiri Brahmins in Kerala, southwest India, in April 1975. This event was possibly the last performance of the Agnicayana, a Vedic ritual of sacrifice dating back 3,000 years and probably the oldest surviving human ritual. Long considered extinct and never witnessed by outsiders, the ceremonies require the participation of seventeen priests, involve libations of Soma juice and oblations of other substances, all preceded by several months of preparation and rehea