The Men in the Tree

    The Men in the Tree - a Letter to Bhatt

    • Lalit Vachani
    • India
    • 2002
    • 98 min
    • Jan Vrijman Fund
    In 1992, the RSS, a fundamentalist Hindu organisation in India, made the newspapers after the destruction of a mosque that was said to be located on the birthplace of the Hindu God Ram. In subsequent riots, fifteen hundred people were killed, most of them Moslems. Director Lalit Vachani had just finished shooting a documentary about the youth movement of the RSS. Now, he looks at the 1992 footage with some distance and combines it with new images. In the process, he unravels the structure of the ramified and hierarchic RSS. The political branch of the RSS, the BJP, has meanwhile become a government party and managed to turn India into a state with nuclear capabilities. The RSS now also directs its attention to the Christian minority; this resulted in more than four hundred violent incidents in a few years’ time. Vachani interviews people again showing the images of nine years before. He also introduces critics, adults who regret their participation in the RSS and explain how they joined the movement as children. Youngsters who nine years ago were still enthusiastic, have since dropped out and are now more critical. But most RSS members have stayed active. Particularly convincing are the confessions, by RSS members who describe the so-called spontaneous destruction of the mosque as a minutely organised action. Smiling, they talk about the next Moslem locations that should be taken, if need be by force of arms.

    Credits

    • 98 min
    • color
    • video
    • Spoken languages: Sanskrit, English, Hindi, Marathi
    Director
    Lalit Vachani
    Production
    Lalit Vachani for Wide Eye Film
    Cinematography
    Ranjan Palit
    Editing
    Lalit Vachani
    Sound
    P.M. Satheesh, Ranjan Palit

    IDFA history

    2002
    Screened
    Jan Vrijman Fund
    2002

    Jan Vrijman Fund
    2000
    Supported with €13200 for Classic: Production & postproduction

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