India, 58 min
Bela is a village located in East India, the name of which means “time” in the local language. Indian filmmaker Prantik Basu paints a sensorial portrait of this community and its traditional rites. An immersive and hypnotic experience that successfully translates the essence of a singular place into film.
Bela is a village in eastern India, and also means “time” in the local language. At dusk, the women draw ornaments on the ground in the village. In the evening, beneath the stormy sky, the men practice Chhau, the traditional masked dance. “How could I forget my village?” says a man who left to find work elsewhere to a friend. Filmmaker Prantik Basu paints a portrait of the village of Bela that resembles a memory, so immersive is the film experience. Shot over two years and edited in consecutive days, Bela shows the village’s daily life and, in particular, its traditional rites and their preparation. The men and the women gather separately to prepare the different activities where the director intimately observes these two worlds, and the threshold that separates them. The subtle use of slow motion accentuates the hypnotic and dreamlike dimension of the film. Bela is a unique sensorial experience that successfully translates the essence of a singular place into film.