The third lecture of the Bricolage series, organized by the research scholars of the Department of English, University of Hyderabad titled “Exploring Looking, Seeing and Reading in the Movies” was presented by Dr. Sushmita Banerji from IIIT-Hyderabad, at ASIHSS Hall, School of Humanities on February 10, 2020.
In the first half of the lecture, Dr. Sushmita offered a brief overview of the emergence and development of film theory, followed by illustrative readings of excerpts from Satyajit Ray’s Charulata (1964) in the second half. The key question that the lecture tried to address was: “Do audio-visual texts require a different form of reading?”
While Dr. Banerji noted methods of reading that specifically address the aesthetic capacities of the cinematic form. She also detailed the ways in which these methods have evolved in dialogue with other art forms and critical practices.
Dr Banerjee delineated the basics of film language and grammar, pointing out how different sorts of frames, editing styles, shots, camera movements, etc. create and shape cinematic narrative and meaning, and how these might be productively used as tools of analysis. She demonstrated two kinds of readings in her engagement with Charulata, offering a narratological study as well as a psychoanalytic study of select scenes, contextualizing both within debates about gender roles, colonial and postcolonial modernity and the processes and purposes of adaptation.
The lecture was followed by a question-and-answer session in which questions about formal, historical and disciplinary aspects of reading cinema were raised and discussed.
–Akshata S Pai, Department of English.