“I don’t love cinema, I hate cinema. How can I love cinema, the tool that was used to colonize my people?” Said prestigious Ethiopian film maker, Haile Gerima. Gerima stated so while he delivered the Aravindan Memorial Lecture at Nila Theatre at 6:00 pm today.
“My passion is not with the tool but with the story I have to tell, it’s just a tool but I don’t love it” added Gerima as he spoke about how people often misunderstand and state how mutual their love for cinema is.
“Cinema can be turned against itself and that is all I do, I use the very tool that enslaved my people as a medium of liberation” remarked Gerima. “In my opinion I feel that majority of film makers nowadays especially in commercial cinema are part of the middle class or as I like to call it the buffer class that loves cinema. Spectacle cinema also creates subdued human relationships void of critical thinking. Latin American film makers in my childhood used to call Hollywood cinema ‘The new hydrogen bomb’. Every Bollywood or Hollywood film kills my spirit as it makes people think simplistically about this complex society we inherit. American films are dying cause of this ridiculous common formalism. Cinema has a capacity to change and bring about a change in human society. Human beings who interactively change are safer than those who change at gun point. We need a cultural diet that creates stronger human beings and by telling my story I am revolting against mainstream oppression or the monopoly of culture.” added Gerima.
“History is made by young people who have always defied formalism and have to learn to ask why even when in the wrong and the world needs more of them as universalism cannot be achieved without fighting particularism.” said Gerima as he spoke about the global community of young new generation film makers. ”Alternate independent existence is also possible as no one should compromise their original ideals. I am an imperfect filmmaker as I am still trying to make my own voice resonate from within my films and like exploring cinema as a partner you have to try and explore whats local in you. Every question I’ve done so far and every answer brings forth another question.”stated Gerima.
Aravindan Memorial lecture is an annual programme conducted by the International Film Festival of Kerala in honour of the legendary Malayalam film maker Padma Shri Govindan Aravindan. The other members of the honorable dais present at this lecture was cinematographer and close friend of Malayalam director Aravindan, Sunny Joseph and also June Givanni ,London based film curator who specializes in African films.