Poetic insight into the human condition, or self-indulgent response to a poorly-understood ethnographic context? Forest of Bliss is perhaps the most controversial film in a long line of controversial films by Gardner, and has generated a passionate debate. On one level the film documents the ‘death industry’ in Varanasi (Benares), one of Hindu India’s most sacred places; on another level it is a largely wordless meditation on death and salvation. While three main characters emerge during the course of the film (a healer, a merchant, and a priest) the film is not so much about them as about the city and the grey space between death and life.
Ethnographic Film Screenings Michaelmas Term 2017
Wednesdays, 3pm, Lecture Theatre, 61 Banbury Road