Il Cinema Ritrovato on Tour: The Circus Tent


The Main 3 Sat, May 13, 2023 12:00 PM
Film Info
Program:Il Cinema Ritrovato On Tour
Runtime:130 min


The Circus Tent

Saturday, May 13 at 12:00pm

Highlighting restored, archival, and silent cinema from Il Cinema Ritrovato's annual festival in Bologna, Italy.

Video introduction by Shivendra Singh Dungarpur (Film Heritage Foundation)

About The Circus Tent (Thamp¯)
India | Directed by Aravindan Govindan | 1978 | 130 min | Malayalam | Courtesy Film Heritage Foundation

Images unfold like a Hindustani raga, a journey through a mystical world where the real and unreal merge seamlessly, where genre and form have no boundaries, a contemplative, meditative reverie in a unique visual language—that is Govindan. Aravindan Govindan’s Thamp¯ is a poetic, allegorical film, that gently explores the transience of human relationships and the rootlessness of the marginalized through the ripples created in the bucolic existence of a village on the banks of a river by the arrival of a roving circus troupe. In cinéma vérité style, Govindan rounded up a troupe of circus artistes and travelled with them to the village of Thirunavaya on the banks of the Bharathapuzha river. On the first day, the circus was set up and all the villagers were invited to watch the show. Aravindan said in an interview, “We did not have a script and we shot the incidents as they happened… There were a lot of people who had not seen a circus before. We shot their responses as they were watching. After the initial hesitation, they forgot the lights and the shooting and got completely involved in the circus.” For three days, the circus is the centre of attention of village life, but soon the villagers lose interest and move on to the preparation for a local festival and the circus troupe packs up and trundles away leaving no trace. Alienated from his own milieu, a young man from the village clambers on to the departing truck, hoping to escape his discontent by joining the circus troupe in their drifting existence. The beauty of the film lies in the reflective silences, the deeply observational, but delicate gaze of the camera, juxtaposing the pathos of the circus performers as they go about their everyday tasks and more starkly in impassive close-ups as they speak directly to the camera, against the innocent wonderment of the captivated village audience, in black and white imagery that stays with you long after the big tent has folded up. -Shivendra Singh Dungarpur

The restoration used the best surviving element, namely a dupe negative struck from a 35mm print preserved at the National Film Archive of India. The element was scanned in 4K and the restoration was performed at Prasad Corporation Pvt. Ltd.’s Post Studios, Chennai and L’Immagine Ritrovata Laboratory.

Shivendra Singh Dungarpur (Film Heritage Foundation) Bio: Shivendra Singh Dungarpur is an award-winning filmmaker, producer, and archivist. He has produced and directed many films under the banner of his production house Dungarpur Films. His feature documentary films Celluloid Man (2012), The Immortals (2015), and CzechMate – In Search of Jiri Menzel have screened across the globe and won numerous awards.

About Il Cinema Ritrovato On Tour–Minneapolis

Il Cinema Ritrovato On Tour–Minneapolis will feature recently restored archival films at The Main Cinema from May 11–13, 2023. Presented in partnership by Archives on Screen, Twin Cities, the Film Society of Minneapolis/St. Paul, and Cineteca di Bologna, the festival will screen eleven highlights from Il Cinema Ritrovato’s 2022 lineup. Il Cinema Ritrovato is an annual international film festival that exhibits new restorations and archival films in Bologna, Italy. Archives on Screen is proud to partner with Il Cinema Ritrovato and Cineteca di Bologna to curate selections from their festival for Twin Cities audiences.

About Archives on Screen, Twin Cities

Co-organized by Michelle Baroody and Maggie Hennefeld, Archives on Screen is dedicated to bringing rare, unseen archival films from around the globe to movie screens in the Twin Cities. Animated by a love of cinema and a commitment to making visible excluded images from the past, we work with international film archives and local film venues to expose students and audiences to the richness of film history. We program events that foster open dialogue and community engagement between university students and local film audiences across the Twin Cities. Our programming draws on local, national, and international film archives, and it spans the early history of silent cinema, studio feature films, experimental counter-cinemas, third cinema, amateur and non-theatrical films, short films, unfinished films, and contemporary independent filmmaking.