Please join us in the open space of the department the next two Wednesdays, 10/28 and 11/4 at noon for a special Brown Bag film event. We will be showing a recently released film titled “Ishaare,” directed by Anthropologist Annelies Kusters, and produced by the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity. The film is based on ethnographic research conducted by Annelies Kusters and Sujit Sahasrabudhe about language and gesture in Mumbai, India, and the ways in which local gestural repertoires are taken up and elaborated upon by Deaf, DeafBlind, and hearing people, as they circumvent language barriers, and differences in sensory access. We will be showing the film in a two-part series. The first half will be shown next Wednesday, 10/28, and the following Wednesday, we will be showing the second half. Dr. Kusters has also agreed to videorecord a short message about how this film speaks specifically to the concerns of sociolinguistics and sign language linguistics. The film will be followed by discussion. See below for synopsis.
The Director’s Synopsis
“Ishaare” has a double meaning: it means “gestures” in Hindi and Marathi, but it also means “signs”, as such indicating that there cannot be made a strict distinction between them. However, whilst there seems to be overlap between gestures and sign language, they differ too, as the protagonists of the movie show and tell us. The film “Ishaare” documents how six deaf signers communicate with familiar and unfamiliar hearing shopkeepers, street vendors, customers, waiters, ticket conductors and fellow travellers in Mumbai. Reena and Pradip, who is deaf blind, go grocery shopping along local streets, in markets and in shops. Sujit, our guide throughout the movie, communicates in public transport. Mahesh is a retail businessman who sells stocks of pens to stationery shops. Komal runs an accessory shop with her husband Sanjay, where most customers are schoolgirls. Durga is the manager of a branch of Café Coffee Day, an upmarket coffee chain. When enquiring, selling, bargaining and chitchatting, these deaf and hearing people use gestures and signs, and they also lipread, mouth, read and write in different spoken languages. In the film, they share how they experience these ways of communication.
In case you can’t join us, see the video here https://vimeo.com/142245339 The film lasts 80 minutes. (you can switch on or switch off HD)
The “making of”, which lasts 20 minutes: https://vimeo.com/142241532