At the end of 2011 and 2012, we conducted the first two editions of 'Discoveries' - a mini-conclave for writers to share with each other (and naturally, the reader) their personal memories of the cinema from that year; thereby allowing the contributors to exist first and foremost as individuals, with their own admissions, regrets, anecdotes, hopes, fears and intrigues. The approach imagined cinephilia as a historical rite, a self-sufficient ecosystem, a waterhole where animals with separate, severed existences gather in order to live. For 2014, 'Discoveries' has evolved into a survey - but why this? What has changed over the last two years? The answer may perhaps lie in this observation by Stephan Petermann: 'The challenge before this generation is to organise its criticism.' While PH has remained devoted for the four years of its existence to forging a platform for a diversity of voices (diversity: international, experience levels, attitudes, genders, backgrounds) to co-exist, it is significant to its existence that it now sharpen its own instrument: organise, inventory and arrange - so as to evolve, from merely being a film magazine (an identity that is meaningless; Stardust is a film magazine too, and our email too is full of invitations to attend Bollywood launches) to a publication tethered to a purpose, a meaning. It is imperative even more so in a extremely-global world that an agency or an institutition defy homogeneity at all costs. The adoption of the survey model is a step perhaps in the direction of this structural reform - while (we hope) it does not sacrifice the opportunity for private meditation (as demonstrated by the responses), it also allows us to conduct larger inquiries regarding the shifting, malleable nature of cinephilia-at-large around us. This, I believe, is essential - for this public echoing of a personal whisper is the founding tenet of cinephilia.
We invited 68 writers to participate in the survey: filmmakers, cinematographers, critics, authors and magazine editors. We received fifteen responses (one of which was akin to drunk-dialling, hence not reproduced), which will be published over three days in the coming week. The first set, below.
a) Forms of Perversions by Ankan Kazi
b) Cinephilia, rationed by Jai Arjun Singh
c) Riches in the Plankton by Aadithya Nandakumar
d) A Culture of Forgetting by Srikanth Srinivasan
e) The Dilution of Dogma by Rüdiger Tomczak
j) '…the face must be destroyed.' by Devdutt Trivedi
k)A Discovery in Dystopia by Brad Stevens
l) Towards Utter Rapture by Matthew Wilder
m) Sweaty Palms, Sinking Heart by Anuj Malhotra
n) The Mastication Rituals by Rahee Punyashloka