wiki:Mati Manas

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Mati Manas

aka Mind of Clay aka Terracotta 1984 92’ col Hindi d/p/co-s Mani Kaul pc Infrakino Film Prod. co-sc Kamal Swaroop c Venu m T.R. Mahalingam lp Anita Kanwar, Robin Das, Ashok Sharma

Episodic film about the ancient Indian tradition of terracotta sculpture and pottery and the several legends associated with this tradition. The artefacts involved include some of the oldest items of Indian civilisation (from the Indus Valley, 2500BC) and have been, together with the legends associated with terracotta techniques, central to historical research into e.g. the origins of patriarchy, the shift from pastoral to agrarian systems, etc. The film enacts a series of such legends. The first is of the Sariya Mata or cat mother whose kittens remained safe in the interior of the baked pot, a legend associated with Harappan archaeological sites which had human skeletons buried in womb-like pots. The second legend revolves around the Kala-Gora (Black-White) icon produced in the village of Molella, Rajasthan, and features the witch Gangli who transforms Gora into a bull by day, making him work in her oil-press, until finally Kala beheads Gangli. The film connects this tale with the Mesopotamian legend of Gilgamesh and Enkidu. The third, and bestknown, legend features Parashuram who beheads his own mother Renuka with his axe. Interwoven with these tales are stories narrated by the potters themselves and fictional sequences featuring three contemporary historians who recall the legends while looking at the terracotta artefacts, often through the eyepiece of a camera or from behind glass panes in a museum. Shot throughout Central, South and Eastern India, the film deliberately suppresses its variety of locations to achieve the idea of an integrated civilisation endowed with a sense of immortality through cultural (pro)creativity. At the same time, the technocultural process of film-making is presented as an extension of similar craft traditions.