Kim Longinotto

At Guth Gafa, Longinotto gave a master class arranged by Screen Training Ireland. Her presentation is generous, open and full of contradictions and inconsistencies, a point she openly admits at regular intervals – along with her other repeated insistence that she is insecure, in constant need of praise, yet singleminded enough to brush aside criticism. Her frankness shines through when referring to the importance of being open.She acknowledges how much her parents disliked her, and how much she disliked various collaborators along the way, while falling in love with a few of the protagonists. It all makes for a complex character: Longinotto is ambiguous, yet honest in her irregular opinions.

Kim Longinotto tells DOX that she does not choose to personally attend many festivals (though she seems to be persuaded relatively often). She says she is never going to do more workshops. She would much rather festivals invite one of the women from her everincreasing catalogue of films. Yes, after having spent time with Jackie Branfield (in Rough Aunties) at the Films from the South Festival in Oslo last October, I feel it is clear these women get debate raging on the issues. Longinotto herself has commented: “When the people in the films travel they are the ones that get standing ovations, not me”. When the director travels to represent her films in person it is her style of filmmaking that becomes the focus: her observational, non-intrusive style about which much has now been written, which she has had to defend, but which now seems to be all the rage, pushing voiceovers far down the scale of what makes a documentary cool in 2010.

Longinotto talked to DOX about her new film Pink Saris, though it was not able to be screened there. DOX has seen it, and can report that it is made in the same silent witness, cinema verité style as her previous films, making the audience forget quite how they came to be allowed to watch all that is going on. Pink Saris follows four dramatic stories in the Utar Padesh region of India, all revolving around the central figure of Sampat Pal Devi. Sampat is the leader of the Gulabi, or Pink Sari, Gang, well known in India for its vigilante style of addressing injustice, sometime through physical confrontations. In the film, Sampat is one angry lady – raging against the caste system, the mother-in-laws that beat and the father-in-laws that rape. Sampat confronts, Sampat walks off, Sampat sets up impromptu court and says what no one else dares to. Sampat declares: “There is no greater god than women, God can go to hell.” She shouts for all to hear: “I am more powerful than the police.

«Pink Saris is made in the same silent witness, cinema verité style as her previous films»

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