E.  People of the Mountain, People of the Waters: Creaking of Times

In the Forest Hangs a Bridge

INDIA (Arunachal Pradesh) / 1999 / English, Adi, Hindi / Color / DCP (Original: 16mm) / 39 min

Director, Script, Producer: Sanjay Kak
Photography: Ranjan Palit
Editing: Reena Mohan
Executive Producer: Vinay Sheel Oberoi
Production Company, Source: Octave Communications

The suspension bridges that span the rivers of the Siang valley are the distinctive mark of the Adi tribe, who live amidst the forested hills of Arunachal. In Damro village, each year people carry out the communal work of chopping cane and bamboo from the forest and rebuilding a thousand-foot-long bridge. Over generations, their only tool is a blade of tempered steel, the size of a machete. As steel wire is introduced into the bridge’s frame and young men begin to leave Damro for work and study, the film captures a pivotal moment of change for this society. Filmed by “outsiders,”—Indians from the mainland—with warmth and respect for the Adi way of life, the film becomes a reflection on the strength—and the fragility—of the idea of community.

Floating Life


INDIA (Manipur) / 2014 / Manipuri / Color / DCP / 52 min

Director: Haobam Paban Kumar
Subject Advisor: Salam Rajesh
Photography: Irom Maipak
Production: Films Division of India
Source: Haobam Paban Kumar

Loktak Lake is the largest freshwater lake in Northeast India, known for its floating islands of biomass called phumdis. In 2011, the Manipur government burnt down hundreds of huts built on the phumdis, claiming that the locals who lived there were polluting the lake. The fishermen’s modest living environment, actually in tune with the natural ecosystem, is destroyed by state order and heavy machinery. The film captures the families rebuilding their houses and feeding their children in their continued fight against the authorities. Director Haobam Paban Kumar went on to make his internationally acclaimed fiction debut Lady of the Lake (2016) based on his collaboration with people he met through this documentary.