Kim Ki Duk’s promise, Zanussi’s betrayal: film festival, world cinema and the subject of the region
Abstract This paper, focusing on the short film, Dear Kim (2009), and a debate between Polish filmmaker Krzysztof Zanussi and Marxist intellectual P Govinda Pillai at the International Film Festival of Kerala (IFFK) in 1998, attempts to understand the work done by the category of “world cinema” and the institution of the film festival in the formation of the subject of the region, in this case the south Indian state of Kerala. It focuses on the linguistic region formed in post-independence India, thought of as either mirroring or resisting the nation, and as a cultural resource necessary to inhabit the nation as a citizen. The paper argues for a conception of the subject of the region that is performative, where it negotiates multiple horizons of universality simultaneously. While the figure of the citizen provides it with one horizon of universality, the subject is not exhausted by it. In the case of Kerala, through the figuration of a conception of “world,” operationalized through the conduit of “world cinema,” often located in the institutional space of the film festival, the subject is able to access other horizons of universality, enabling it to transcend the particularities that a politics of location imposes on it.
Keywords: region, IFFK, film festival, world cinema, linguistic region, horizons of universality, Kerala.
Note on the contributor
Ratheesh Radhakrishnanteaches at the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences at the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, Mumbai (India).