Can proletarian consciousness be cosmopolitan? This was the question at the heart of many artistic struggles waged worldwide in the early to middle decades of the twentieth century, and the varied answers to it represent the outlook of that which has come to be associated with "internationalism." Today this term has fallen into disrepair, perhaps suggesting the need to revisit it in the interests of retaining a conception of political art. The art house films of the Indian director Satyajit Ray (1921 - 1992) on the one hand, and the films of his mainstream counterpart, Bimal Roy (1909 - 1966), serve as the two poles of this discussion. Together, they provide a glimpse into how each of these filmmakers from India saw the relationship between aesthetics and politics and, in that conjunction, make it possible to offer some alternatives to current ways of thinking about global culture.
Keya Ganguly, professor of cultural studies and comparative literature at the University of Minnesota, has published widely on the works of avant-garde Indian filmmaker Satyajit Ray. Her books include Cinema, Emergence, and the Films of Satyajit Ray and States of Exception: Everyday Life and Postcolonial Identity. Join Ganguly for an exploration of cinematic proportions half a world away, integral to understanding U.S. and Europe avant-garde film.
Free and open to the public.