Goethe-Institut Bangladesh (GIB), in cooperation with the International Film Initiative of Bangladesh (IFIB), will be screening ‘Garden of Memories’ by director Humaira Bilkis through their popular segment “Through Her Eyes – A space to watch and discuss films with women filmmakers of Bangladesh” on Thursday at its auditorium. Like the previous editions of ‘Through Her Eyes’ series, the screening will be followed by a Q&A session with the director of the film taking questions from the audience.
The film centers around a tea community’s mundane life where old chieftain Padmoluv , awaits his death and often reminisces the past controlled by colonial masters. Young worker Sojoy, feels trapped but continues the grind. However, School drop-out Chandan wants to elude the exploitation. Every plant in the garden is a mute witness to the unsaid stories of their lives. In death, struggle and escape, these characters become archetype of entrapped tea garden worker in Bangladesh.
A large population of men and women were transported by their British masters from various corners of colonial India and was brought to Bangladesh to work as tea labourers. The tea industry is organized within the framework of colonial rules which has remained unchanged till date. The labourers are subject to the panoptic surveillance of the master. With no school established in the vicinity, there are enough liquor stores to drain off the workers’ meager salary of a dollar per day. This is the key arrangement to which this community has succumbed over generations, never managing to escape the ghosts of their past sufferings.
Women have been making films from the beginning of film production history. Currently, Bangladesh is seeing a number of women filmmakers actively creating and working in all genres of filmmaking. However, it still remains a challenge for a woman to be a director and continue to create a body of work. Worldwide, relatively few women can carve out that opportunity for themselves.
‘Through Her Eyes’ gives film enthusiasts, film students, academics, film professionals, funding agencies, broadcasters, rights groups and journalists a regular opportunity to watch films by women filmmakers currently working in Bangladesh and to interact with them directly at the end of the screening.