INDIA / 2006 / English / Color / Video / 11 min
Director, Script: Santana Issar
Editing: Santana Issar, Pankaj Rishi Kumar
Sound: Pritam Das
Producer: Rajiv Mehrotra
Production Company: Public Service Broadcasting Trust (PSBT)
Source: Santana Issar
The director is criticized by her mother and sister, who are estranged from their father over his alcoholism. With her mother and sister pulling her back and forth, she is driven to the phone by old memories of her father and his current reality. Home videos from twenty-some years ago show her father speaking tenderly to the two close sisters while they innocently play. The footage makes the viewer feel as though the joyous family videos may reveal something if one looks hard enough. The director faces her father through the phone and tries to understand him, as if attempting to bring back the past.
[Director’s Statement] Firsts are always special, but Bare has been more than just my first film.
In the piecing together of home videos that my parents had shot of the four of us when I was just a few years old, and through phone conversations that I planned to hold with my father, mother, and sister, I was looking to understand the impact of Dad’s alcoholism on each of our lives.
What took me by surprise was being able to see things from his perspective, something I had never allowed myself to do before. That I was making a film on the subject gave me just enough distance from our relationship to actually listen to him without passing judgment. And my mother, sister, and I had conversations that made it harder than ever, challenging one another’s reasons for continuing to see him or not, in the brutal way that only those who love you most can do.
I had set out to make a film centered on my recent decision to sever all ties with my father; instead, I ended up making one on my state of absolute indecision regarding whether I wanted him in or out of my life. Should the fact that he was a champion father when I was a little girl compensate for the alcoholism turning our relationship entirely bitter and resentful as I have grown older? Should I rein in my expectations of him today and continue to love him only for what he gave me years ago?
Or is it foolish to even expect to be able to make a decision so black-and-white, when we’re talking matters of the heart?
Santana Issar graduated in Economics from Delhi University in 2005. Thereafter she interned briefly with a news channel before (accidentally) stumbling upon work as an assistant director on a corporate film. The chance to direct Bare (her first film) came along a year later. In the period since Bare’s completion she has worked with a media action group, has tried desperately to meet deadlines on a research fellowship on animal activism in urban spaces, and has come up with the idea for her second film.