Film Archive

Kalyug

Documentary Film
Italy
2013
74 minutes
subtitles: 
German

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Heidi Gronauer, Lorenzo Paccagnella
Juri Mazumdar
Anke Riester
Giorgio Chiodi
Gero Hecker
Once upon a time there were a brother and sister who had illicit sexual relations. That was the beginning of the age of Kalyug, the age of downfall in Hindu cosmology. Has it started again? The Bhil, an ancient tribe, must think so. Modern society has condemned them to live in poverty and loneliness as migrant workers. Worse, a terrible disease is raging among them: HIV. It’s hard to develop a rational attitude towards the causes and effects of the virus on the background of traditional beliefs and the hierarchy in Indian hospitals. At least now the medicine is reaching the patients. A young medical student brings it on his motorcycle, travelling endless miles through a barren, dusty landscape. But his fight for enlightenment seems a fight against windmills.
“Kalyug”’s sophisticated dialectic narrative, which interweaves ancient legends and the stories of the present age, is compelling. The film moves without breaks from a background story, a storyteller at a campfire, to three different internal stories which in turn are linked in a kind of circular structure, with one motive prompting the next. Embedded in the serene flow of the narrative, the archaic images have a mythical effect – while remaining firmly rooted in the reality of the here and now.

Lars Meyer