Asian Cinema Fund 2018

2017 Asian Network of Documentary (AND) Fund

Project A rifle and a bag
Category BIFF Mecenat Fund
Project A rifle and a bag
Director Arya ROTHE
Country India
Director's Profile Arya ROTHE (India, 1990). Graduated in 2016 from DocNomads, a documentary directing master course that takes place in three European countries - Portugal, Hungary, and Belgium. She was a scholarship student, fully funded by the European Union’s EACEA. Before DocNomads, she studied at FAMU - National Film School of Czech Republic. Her first short documentary film that was made in Portugal as a class assignment was Casa da Quina (2015) which had its World Premiere at DocLisboa and won the Special Mention Jury Award at the International Film Festival FILMADRID in Spain. Having studied both fiction and nonfiction genres, her work intends to blur the line between the two.
Fifteen families that abandoned the Naxalite movement under the Government's Surrender Policy built a village at the edge of the jungle. Couples formed in the Naxalites’ arranged marriage system, former Maoist leaders, women commando chiefs, and rebels who joined young, now share the same settlement, attempting to reintegrate as civilians. However, their aspirations to social esteem are shielded by the community’s unease towards their bloody past. Ironically, for many, an option is to join the police force because they make valuable informants. Some are seeking to reconnect with their families, but shame deters them. Others are in a limbo of odd jobs while waiting for the policy pledges to be implemented. As their initial optimism is eroding, their sense of identity is also being challenged. It is this state of mind that I want to bring forward with its moral implications, ideological appeal and political engagement.
Director's Note
For me, the village of ex-Naxalites represents the paradoxical nature of the conflict between the Naxalites and the State. This power play is riddled with prejudice from both sides, while being sensationalised by the media. I am interested in the unique perspective and position of the ex-Naxalites, as they have been on both sides. Throughout history, resistance movements have challenged the sovereign state. They voice the discontent and injustice shared by many. The Naxalite movement resonates with these reflections and allows me to question the function of democracy in such a complex and diverse country like India. The Government has failed to represent the interests of the tribal communities, while the Naxals have also failed to maintain their initial goals. Armed only with their own will, after fighting for a Communist utopia, they find themselves together in one settlement, facing a common challenge of overcoming their past and rebuilding themselves socially.
Still Cut