Matti Ke Lal, fils de la terre

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Visions du Réel Nyon 1998

Matti Ke Lal, fils de la terre
FR 1998 20'

Director: Elisabeth Leuvrey
Camera: Dominique Defert
Sound: Elisabeth Leuvrey
Editing:: Elisabeth Leuvrey
Music:: Shyamal Maïtra
Production:: Groupement de Recherches et d'Essais Cinématographiques (G.R.E.C, Elisabeth Leuvrey

Elisabeth Leuvrey 1998 20'

“I am a child of the earth”, says Vijay Pal, who is as old as our century is. His parents died young, and at school the other pupils used to tease him about God having killed them. Thus he wanted to avenge them, and hold God accountable. Yet along the way he encountered, instead of God, a wise man who mysteriously explained to him that the weak are enslaved, and that only the strong can be free. Thus he began to physically get into shape, and eventually became a wrestler. In 1928 he founded a school of martial arts where he took in only orphans, regardless of their religion. They called him Hanuman, after Hindu mythology’s monkey god. He fought for India’s independence until 1947. Even today, his sport school is still his home. Against the backdrop of French filmmaker Elisabeth Leuvrey’s pictures, he tells about himself from off-camera. matti ke lal, sons of the soil approaches this story, which is to a certain degree India’s story as well, with high-contrast black and white images. From a respectful distance, she shows the young men at practice without ever idealistically exalting their muscular bodies. She pays the closest attention to the movement and rhythm, which she stresses photographically in a play of light and shadow, as well as in the soundtrack’s tabla music. In her sensitive film documentary, Leuvrey avoids the usual Indian clichés but instead concentrates wholly on Vijay Pal, the patriarch surrounded by his protégés, who enjoy nothing more than training with him outside in the playground.
Visions du Réel Nyon 1998