In my time as the Museum’s 2017–18 Camfield Fellow, my passion for art and film has grown enormously. As I’ve worked on projects for MFAH Films—from the fall 2017 edition of the Houston Cinema Arts Festival to the upcoming Latin Wave 13—I’ve gained a new appreciation not only for film, but also for my own Indian culture.
I was able to see the marvelous Peacock in the Desert: The Royal Arts of Jodhpur, India come to life and witness the centuries of royal treasures from the Mehrangarh Museum Trust. To celebrate the exhibition, MFAH Films is screening dramas, documentaries, and more that highlight Indian stories and creators. Here are a few of my favorites:
Stories of Contemporary India on Screen
Lipstick Under My Burkha
Stories of Contemporary India on Screen (April 13–22) presents four films in response to the citywide FotoFest 2018 Biennial that focuses on contemporary India. My favorite is filmmaker Alankrita Shrivastava’s Lipstick Under My Burkha, a snapshot of the lives of four Indian women in Bhopal. In a stirring account of empowerment, the women explore desires through small acts of courage and rebellion in a conservative society. Infused with humor and energetic fervor, this bold film offers an honest reflection of Indian society and female identity.
• Lipstick Under My Burkha screens on Saturday, April 21.
Merchant Ivory in India
Heat and Dust
The series Merchant Ivory in India (April 7–May 20) explores the landscape of a changing Rajasthan. Featuring the late Shashi Kapoor, Heat and Dust is a beguiling and seductive story that crosscuts between two generations of women who begin a journey of self-discovery. Injected with irony, romance, and the sensuous allure of India, James Ivory’s film tells the tale of Anne (Julie Christie) and her investigation into her great-aunt Olivia (Greta Scacchi), who had a scandalous affair with an Indian prince (Kapoor). Filled with Indian pomp and splendor, the film features two mesmerizing, electric romances.
• Heat and Dust screens on May 11 & 12.
Mehrangarh Fort—the palace-turned-museum that loaned most of the works on view in Peacock in the Desert—is the setting of Paul Thomas Anderson’s new documentary. Junun follows Israeli composer Shye Ben Tzur and Radiohead guitarist Jonny Greenwood as they team up to make an album in Jodhpur with the Rajasthan Express, an Indian ensemble. Junun displays a multitude of musical traditions with subtle, piercing snapshots of Rajasthani culture.
• Junun screens in summer 2018. Stay tuned for details!