I’m sitting here stunned and gutted by the documentary I’ve just watched on Kashmir, How We Celebrate Freedom, directed by Sanjay Kak. The film was brought to my attention on Twitter through this article that explains how a religious minority group prevented this from being displayed at a university in Pune.
The thing is, there’s a streaming copy of the film online, with endorsement from…interesting sources. Anywho, I RT’ed the link and set aside the url to work on some editing, and then I sat through an hour of the two hour and eighteen minute documentary before I had to pause and take a break. I missed the actual intermission by twenty minutes, so my high limit for shock was met about twenty minutes before the director was ready to give me a rest. This film is an endurance event for all the travesties on display, but during this survey of loss, the director also captures the way people try to cope with life in an ongoing war zone. There’s moments of theater, a comedy, even, and many readings from poets. These are also interspersed with the lyrical chants of the resistance fighters, and with the military’s continued efforts to try and win the Kashmir people over despite all the harm their occupation continues to cause.
I won’t rant at you that you have to see this or you have no soul. This film is very hard to watch. But I really want to help the filmmakers as a show of support for an important film, and to protest religious censorship, in all its ugly forms. I disagree with the critics that this documentary was anti-India. It’s a condemnation of solving any social problem with military occupancy. That’s a sentiment I very strongly agree with, and so I feel the need to link you to the original article, and to the film itself. Whether you choose to watch the video is up to you, but I’d politely request that you check out the article and see how religious intolerance is able to effectively stifle a film for being “divisive” when what it’s really saying is “What’s been tried in the past isn’t working, so why can’t we talk about alternatives yet?” So, even if you can’t give the film a viewing, please check out the article. It’s like a ten minute read if you’re real slow like me, but for you faster folks, that’s more like five.
Oh, and I can’t offer a star-type score for this film. It’s an important story that transcends scores. Is it pleasant? No. But is it important? Yes, and this is going to stay with me for a while.
If it sounds too violent or graphic for you to handle it, it’s cool. But I wanted to get this link out and help spread awareness. Standard rants and rambles will return later.