Documenting through Film in Social Science Research

International Seminar on ‘Documenting through Film in Social Science Research’

Organised Jointly by
Dept. of Social Sciences,French Institute of Pondicherry
Dept. of Sociology,Pondicherry University
Centre for Study of Social Exclusion and Inclusive Policy, Pondicherry University


On 21st and 22nd February 2013

J.N. Hall, French Institute of Pondicherry
Social Science Seminar Hall, Silver Jubilee complex, Pondicherry University

Funded by
French Institute of Pondicherry
Pondicherry University
Day 1: 21st Feb 2013, Thursday
Venue: J.N. Hall, French Institute of Pondicherry
6pm-6.30pm: Inaugural Session
Welcome Address: Prof. B.B. Mohanty, Head, Dept. of Sociology, Pondicherry University
Presentation of IFP: Dr. Pierre Grard, Director, French Institute of Pondicherry
Keynote Address: Dr. Benoit Raoulx, Assistant Professor, Université de Caen Basse Normandie, France
Felicitation: Prof. N.K. Jha, Dean, School of Social Sciences and International Studies, Pondicherry University
Presidential Address: Prof. Chandra Krishnamurthy, Vice Chancellor, Pondicherry University
Vote of Thanks: Dr. Thanuja M, Assistant Professor, Centre for Study of Social Exclusion and Inclusive Policy, Pondicherry University

6.30pm-7.30pm: ‘Traplines in Vancouver’
  Film Screening and discussion by Benoît RAOULX

‘Traplines in Vancouver’(direction and photography: B.Raoulx), 2003

  DVcam, 37 minutes. Co-production Les Ateliers Cinéma de Normandie (ACCAAN) and Service du Film de Recherche Scientifique, French Ministry of Education (Vanves) withthe support of the Centre National de la Cinématographie (CNC) and Région Basse-Normandie.
Editing: G.Dubarry
Language Available in English with French subtitles.
Synopsis: In Vancouver (Canada), Peter and Doe check their traplines, retrieving 5 and 20 cents cans for refund and cashing them at the United We Can bottle depot, a non profit organization dedicated to recycling and environmental issues. Through this documentary, we discover mainstream society as seen from its margins.
7.30pm: Dinner
Day 2: 22nd Feb 2013, Friday
Venue:Social Science Seminar Hall, Silver Jubilee complex, PU
Programme: Lecture/discussion on Film, its role in research and Film Screening (only highlights)
9.30am -11.00am: ‘Las Playitas’
  Benoît Raoulx, Assistant Professor, Université de Caen Basse Normandie, France
  ‘Las Playitas’ (Direction and Photography: B.Raoulx), 2007
  HDV cam, 56 minutes, December 2007,
Production: Tarmac Films co-produced with Citizen TV, France.
Sound recording: Santiago Ortega et Emmanuel Hernandez-Avila. Maracaibo.
Edition: Amelia Bouillon. With the support of la Region Basse-Normandie et du Centre National de la Cinematography (CNC). In Spanish with French or English Subtitles.
Synopsis: In Maracaibo, the second largest city of Venezuela, the popular market is a stage representing life. In this place of consumption, the dream of social mobility and the fragile condition of the people working there collide. This film reveals how everyday events, great or small, constantly impact the lives of those who are part of this community. A tragic event reveals the strategic role and location of the market.
11.00.-11.15: Tea
11.15am-11.45: ‘I-village: How do I globalize it?’
  Roxane De Flore, Ph.D. Scholar, LAB’URBA University of Paris-Est Marne-la-Vallée and French Institute of Pondicherry (Social Science dept.). A work-in-progress documentary, with the support of the municipality of Vincennes, France.
Synopsis: In India, the current urban development and the economic growth has given rise to so much discussion and will surely continue to do so over coming years. Many actors are involved in land transactions and planning of mega-projects, but who are the Globalization trendsetters? What does this term means for inhabitants and professionals who suppose to live in a Global city ? What is the pattern of development they follow? How indian culture and indian history could be keys to understand current planning? This movie will be an ethnographic observation without the researcher written grid but it will hand over to public speech. Actors will share their insights by candid video interviews in order to describe complexities of events in land transaction.

11.45-12.15: ‘Konda Reddis and Inclusive Policy’
  Dr. Thanuja M, Assistant Professor, CSSE & IP, Pondicherry University
  A work-in-progress documentary; HDV cam, Production: University Grants Commission-MRP, India. With support of Multimedia Production Centre, Pondicherry University, India.
Direction and Script: Thanuja M
Assistant Director: Sonia Martin
Cinematography/ Editing: Thulasi Kumar
Synopsis: This film shows how life of hill dwelling Konda Reddis is different from those who have been resettled in government constructed colonies in the plains. Using participatory video the film tries to facilitate communication between people of the hills, the colonies, the government and the researcher in recording and playing back reflexive responses to the key question of development induced livelihood changes.
12.15-12.45pm: ‘Caste, Land and Customs’
  Dr. Zoe Headley, CNRS, France and Dr. N. Ganeshan, Research Associate, Dept. of Social Sciences, French Institute of Pondicherry
Cinematography/ Editing: Mr. P. Chandran
Field Coordination: Mr. V. Kirushnasamy
Synopsis: This document/film is a part of Caste, Land and Customs (CLAC) project which focuses on understanding the relationship between caste, customary law and State law in Tamil Nadu in present times. This is an idea of the project to explore the uses of such visual archive and make accessible to researchers to open a new avenue of analysis at the level of micro-history of rural India. This film shows the processes and procedures of the caste assemblies and its different features (verbal exchanges, family of arguments, body language, etc.) in one of the village in Madurai District.

11.00.-11.15: Tea
1.45pm-2.15pm: ‘The dance of Saint Antony: devotion, affliction and possession’
  Dr. Brigitte Sebastia, Anthropologist, Dept. of Social Sciences, French Institute of Pondicherry
Direction: Christian and Brigitte Sébastia 32mn (2002)
Synopsis: In South India, Saint Anthony of Padua has the power to exorcise evil spirits. His specialty is reflected at Puliyampatti by the presence of patients who are affected by mental disorders. Far from ‘ostracizing’ patients and families who turn to religious places for cures, the aim of the film, questioning two kind of patients –those with severe mental disorders and those affected by redundant social suffering-, is to understand why patients or their families turn to religious therapy for mental disturbances, and what is the place held by the shrines and their therapeutic benefits in a context of plural medical systems available in India.

2.15pm-2.45pm: ‘Ghora-Dancing Gods’
  A work-in-progress documentary
Direction: Irene Majo Garigliano and Alessandro Cartosio
Synopsis: India, Assam. Devidas, a fifty-year-old bank employee, is possessed once every year by Hindu Goddess Manasa in the Kamakhya Temple. The man possessed by Goddess Bagala is much younger; he is about twenty years old and works for the Temple’s security. According to the common belief, specific individuals (the Ghoras) are chosen by Gods in order to be their human vehicles. How do Ghoras understand their identity? How do they perceive the impact of globalisation on the possession they undergo? Such are the questions this film attempts at answering.

2.45pm-3.15pm: ‘Bittersweet waters : irrigation practices and modern challenges in South India’
  Dr. Anupuma K., Researcher, Dept. of Ecology, French Institute of Pondicherry
Written and directed Nathanaël Coste, Nicolas Ploumpidis
Co-authors K. Anupama, O. Aubriot, Y. Gunnell.
  Publications Hors série n° 5, IFP, 2007 [DVD Video]
Language: DVD (Trilingual) : English, French, Tamil.
Synopsis: This trilingual documentary (French, English and Tamil; 53 minutes) deals with the issues of water management in South India, a subject of underlying anxiety in towns as well as in the countryside. Through testimonies provided by a broad range of stakeholders from rural India, this documentary shows how the dynamics of water management have evolved over the last few decades and how access to water has brought prosperity but also led to bitter experiences. Water issues act here as a lightning rod for portraying an agrarian society that is undergoing rapid and profound change and finds itself faced with acute ecological, social, economical, cultural and political choices for the future.

3.15pm-3.45pm: ‘Day to day Struggles of Visually Challenged people in Tamil Nadu’
  Dr. A. Chidambaram, Assistant Professor, CSSE & IP, Pondicherry University
Direction and Script: A. Chidambaram
Cinematography/ Editing: Arun Mathew
Synopsis: This documentary show cases the problems faced by the beggars on the Chennai Metro trains and local stations in the city. The focus of this project is to sensitize the Government officials especially the Commissioner and the Secretary for the Ministry of the differently abled. Through this project we aim to attempt to advocate with the Government for the effective implementation of the 3% reservation for the higher education, employment and also for the effective utilisation of poverty eradication programmes designed for the differently abled.

3.45pm-4.00pm: Tea

4.00pm-5.00pm Summing up & Future Collaboration
5.00pm-5.30pm: Valedictory Session
Welcome Address: Prof. B.B. Mohanty, Head, Dept. of Sociology, Pondicherry University
Review of Seminar: Dr. Eric Denis, Head Dept. of Social Sciences, French Institute of Pondicherry
Valedictory Address: Prof. Vinay Kumar Srivastava, Dept. of Anthropology, Delhi University
Presidential address: Prof. M. Ramdass, Director (SEI & RR), Pondicherry University
Vote of Thanks: Dr. Thanuja M, Assistant Professor, Centre for Study of Social Exclusion and Inclusive Policy, Pondicherry University