“To cook slowly, on a slow flame, for a long time: sometimes that is a good way to be.” – Amar Kanwar. Such a Morning, directed by Amar Kanwar, India 2017, digital video, color, 85 minutes. $12 special event tickets with Amar Kanwar in person.
Amar Kanwar (b. 1964) is a New Delhi-based filmmaker and artist whose work has powerfully mined the potential of a slower, drifting method of moving image to forge a politically charged and engaged mode of gently expanded cinema. Kanwar’s critically acclaimed yet fiercely debated Such a Morning hovers on the border between magical realist allegory and slow cinema trance film with an almost Calvino-like fable of a renowned mathematician impulsively abandoning his university post, without explanation, to hibernate in a train car abandoned deep in a lush forest. Studiously meditating on the darkness of his cabin as he carefully blocks out the stubborn sunlight, Kanwar’s obscure hero seeks an enigmatic form of solace, a passenger on a secret train of thought bound for an uncertain destination. The appearance, or apparition, of a woman indifferently guarding a house systematically pulled apart by workers offers a haunting bookend to the mathematician’s patient project, a form of deliberate waiting, or resistance, or surrender. Crafted with a cinematographic precision and remarkable attention to light and shadow, Such a Morning shimmers with fierce political allegory and obdurate mystery, inviting the viewer to sit and to wait, like the film’s characters, for an expected revelation. – Haden Guest
Amar Kanwar’s visit is co-presented with the Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts with support from the Film Study Center, the Lakshmi Mittal and Family South Asia Institute and the Asia Center, Harvard.