Amar: Always Surrounded, Always Alone

Amar: Always Surrounded, Always Alone

Amar is the acclaimed nine-minute documentary short film directed by English documentary filmmaker Andrew Hinton for Pilgrim Films, which won The Satyajit Ray Foundation 2011 Short Film Competition Award and The Best Documentary Award at The 2012 Vimeo Festival +Awards.

Amar is an observational documentary that follows the day of a 14 year-old Indian boy from a teeming slum in India, who is at the top of his class in school and who also fantasizes of someday becoming a professional cricketer. In addition, Amar happens to be his family’s main breadwinner, working two jobs six-and-a-half days a week. On its surface, the film is presented as a quiet celebration of the human spirit, of a boy whose tenacity and quiet resolve carry him through every day.

But on a deeper level, Amar presents the sad and haunting echoes found in earlier seminal works, such as: Alan Sillitoe’s Loneliness of a Long Distance Runner, Carson McCullers’ The Ballad of the Sad Café and Truman Capote’s Other Voices, Other Rooms. Beneath the film’s face of optimism lurks a deep well of solitude, a life that is always surrounded, yet always alone.

Amar: Always Surrounded, Always Alone

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Thoth: The Soul-Stirring Muse of Central Park

Thoth: The Soul-Stirring Muse of Central Park

Thoth: One Man’s Painful Search for Self-Identity

People can hardly ever forget the first time they witness, or rather experience, S. K. Thoth performing in the tunnel at Bethesda Terrace in Central Park, directly across from the “Angel” Fountain. Costumed like an ancient Greek superhero, complete with golden loincloth and a red feathered headdress, Thoth is truly a striking sight to behold.

Then he opens his mouth and begins to sing in his three range operatic voice, with a violin on his shoulder, dancing like a man possessed by something otherworldly, stomping rhythms with his heeled sandals and belled ankles making an indelible impression in your mind. Many of the people in his audiences have no idea what they’re watching, nor do they understand what it could possibly mean. Nevertheless, viewers are often moved to tears, with an experience that they describe as beautiful, soul-stirring and transporting. Mesmerizing in the truest sense of the term.

Thoth calls this expression his “prayformance” in which he presents his “solopera,” a multi-disciplined and multi-media performance piece, drawing on an imaginary mythological world that he created in childhood, and which he’s been writing about ever since.

The story of his life was made into an Oscar-winning documentary film, Thoth. So powerful is this street artist’s work that it captured the rapt attention of award-winning documentary film director Sarah Kernochan, and the film that emerged from her collaboration with Thoth won the 2002 Academy Award for Best Documentary Short Film.

Thoth: One Man’s Painful Search for Self-Identity

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