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KANNAN ARUNASALAM

Review of ‘The Tent’: “ By paying attention to films like Kannan’s, we might arrive at more expansive and transformative understandings of truth and justice”, Centre for Memory, Narrative & Histories

“What initially struck me about The Tent was its stillness and careful framing. Many of the shots appear like moving photographs, as opposed to narrative cinema. But the enduring image that I left with — the heart of the film — is a motionless shot, filmed inside the tent, of the women as they go about their daily lives — fixing the mud floor, cleaning, packing up the sleeping mats, preparing tea, chatting. In The Tent, a sense of connection or continuity with the violent past is not constructed through testimonies, but through the situated, temporal rhythm. A rhythm that emerges in the actions of protestors, and in the form of the film — through its resistance to closure, its cyclical structure, and its focus on a single location. It creates a portrait of the struggle of the women, a portrait which, like their occupation, repeats on a cycle, whether there is an audience watching or not.  By paying attention to films like Kannan’s, by taking them seriously, we might arrive at more expansive and transformative understandings of truth and justice. A rhythm that emerges in the actions of protestors, and in the form of the film — through its resistance to closure, its cyclical structure, and its focus on a single location. It creates a portrait of the struggle of the women, a portrait which, like their occupation, repeats on a cycle, whether there is an audience watching or not.  By paying attention to films like Kannan’s, by taking them seriously, we might arrive at more expansive and transformative understandings of truth and justice.” Extracts from ‘The Times and Spaces of Disappearance’, Struan C. Gray, Centre for Memory, Narrative & Histories, University of Brighton, 5 May 2019

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