In the Forest One Thing Can Look Like Another (2023)
Director: Priyanka Chhabra
Runtime: 16 min
Language: Hindi, English with English subtitles
In The Forest One Thing Can Look Like Another is constructed through the director’s personal experience of living in the remote Himalayan mountain town of Manali, a historically popular destination for shooting Bollywood film songs. The glacial landscape of Manali has become a site where projections of the idyllic countryside are directed—rife with tropes of adventure, eroticism and romance. The work interrogates this thin layer of narrative practices, constructing tableaus of high-altitude mountains as static objects and backdrops for second-hand urban aspirations to happiness, while the precarious reality of living in a highly sensitive ecosystem spins an adventure far removed from most imaginaries.
About the Director
Priyanka Chhabra works as a film director and editor, exploring themes of memory, landscape and relationships of people to places. She articulates her practice as an archaeology of silences, digging at sites characterised by trauma; physical and emotional. Her recent work focuses on reconciling memories and experiences of the Partition of Punjab (1947), Iqraar-naama (2022) (supported by IFA, Bangalore) being her most recent work on the subject. Currently, she is working on an artist’s book My Voice Is As Brittle As The Paper You Write On, as the third iteration of her work on the Partition of Punjab. Other works include Pichla Varka (The Previous Page) (2018) and A Summer Flu (2013). She lives and works in Delhi.
About Monographs 2023
Monographs is a series of video and text essays on Asian cinema commissioned by the Asian Film Archive (AFA). Monographs offers a critical platform for writers and thinkers to discourse upon the moving image beyond the walls of the cinema. Responding to changing geological and socio-political landscapes, Monographs 2023 explores the tensions between form and formlessness, sound and silence, as landscapes are continually sinking, shifting, stirring.
You can view the video essays part of Monographs 2023 as part of an exhibition at the Oldham Theatre foyer from 26 October – 8 December 2023.