Fifteen years ago, I was in my final semester as a graduate student at the Columbia University School of Journalism, preparing to begin a fellowship program at NPR headquarters in Washington, DC. Instead of an encouraging send-off, however, the school’s lead radio professor—himself an alumnus of the network—told me my fellowship was nothing more than a corporate diversity scheme, adding that “diversity hires” were recruited through such programs to increase visibility but that they ultimately failed because those fellows were so underqualified for such roles.
When I was growing up in Pakistan in the 1980s, the combination of cultural censorship by the Islamic Republic and the ban on foreign imports stunted any prospects for global cinephile development. With cinemas shuttered, VHS bootlegging thrived but was largely focused on Bollywood’s tackiest melodramas. During any rare evening broadcast of an English-language film on state television, scenes deemed “non-halal” would abruptly transition into large pixelated forms instead of being spliced out altogether.
“FQ” the Film Quarterly podcast presents SUNDANCE EDITION 2018.
Happy new year, everyone!
“FQ” the Film Quarterly podcast presents REFLECTIONS ON FILM IN 2017. Bilal Qureshi, columnist of “Elsewhere,” and B. Ruby Rich, Editor, Film Quarterly, wrap up the year by discussing some highlights. It is a step outside of listmania– have a listen and share!
FQ Columnist Bilal Qureshi reflects on Deepa Mehta’s film Earth at an important moment in Indian and global history. Writing from New Delhi, he had the opportunity to speak to Mehta in person about her life and work, and that discussion is woven into this column. Since making Earth almost twenty years ago, Deepa Mehta has seen her stature grow to include film festival premieres, an Oscar nomination, and a platform as one of the rare women auteurs on the international stage. She has lived in Canada since the 1970s, but her most celebrated films are not about immigrant displacement or hyphenated identity. Rather, she has always told Indian stories. From the groundbreaking story of a lesbian relationship between two housewives in suffocating arranged marriages (Fire, 1996) to the forced exile of widows in orthodox Hindu scripture (Water, 2005), she has confronted uncomfortable social realities in Indian society. Although she has been labeled an anti-national and had sets burned and cinemas attacked by the religious right for insulting traditional values, she has taken the challenges in stride and continued making films.