3 November 2021

Altar of Fire & There is Something in the Air

3 November 2021 | Part of A Supplementary Country Called Cinema

Starts 8:05 pm

Ends 9:15 am

Venue Cinema Akil

Warehouse 68


8.05 PM | Altar of Fire

1976 | Documentary | English | 45 min

Directed 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 rehearsals. They include the construction, from a thousand bricks, of a fire altar in the shape of a bird.


There is Something in the Air

2011 | Documentary | English, Hindi, Urdu (English Subtitles) | 29 min

Directed 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.

(Note: These two films are presented together)

Altar of Fire

Altar of Fire

There is Something in the Air

There is Something in the Air