Thursday, September 14, 2006

Film Dreams and Passions (Sophia Kaushal, 2006)

Sara and DanzelTonight, I had the pleasure of attending the first of two nights of the Diaspora to Diaspora: African-American/South Asian Encounters film series at The Sonja Haynes Stone Center for Black Culture and History, a beautiful building erected with private funds on the UNC campus. The Norweigan film Dreams and Passions was shown, followed by a discussion led by director Sophia Kaushal and screenwriter Jon Poindexter. (The film isn't quite finished with the editing, but I believe a 2006 credit date is correct.)

The film is a simple love story between college students Indian-born (Punjabi?), Norweigan-raised Sara (played by Sophia), and Chicagoan African-American Danzel (not Denzel; played by Jon), who has just arrived in Norway to study in a foreign exchange program. Unlike a film like Mississippi Masala that explores minority-on-minority prejudice, this is a story of a father and brother who adopt double standards in violently opposing a growing daughter's exploration of dating and romance.
'Stay out of this!' Sara's meddling brother
In the discussion that ensued, Sophia Kaushal described this difference between Norway and the US: the US is far ahead in terms of having vibrantly integrated races, but in Norway where minorities are comparatively scarce, those minorities that do exist relate better to each other with shared experiences. An African-American dating a Norweigan-Indian is viewed as just two non-majorities together.

I enjoyed talking with Sophia and Jon. Jon comes from a theater backround and also sings - and this talent is fairly clear in his acting and intonation. Sophia is directing a new film effort, reminiscent to me of Zana Briski's giving poor children still cameras in the documentary film Born into Brothels, but of giving children video cameras. They begin work in Chicago in the coming days, and also plan to work with children in India and perhaps Japan and elsewhere.

There's no imdb entry for the film yet (once it's done with editing, I may create an entry). You can read a short description of the film and Monday's films in this series in our local entertainment paper, The Independent.

Pictures used with permission and obtained from The Sonja Haynes Stone Center for Black Culture and History.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey dilip, nice blog,my name is ankit, i saw your review of dreams and passions about the indian girl in norway falling in love with a us guy, can u please tell me, how i can get to see the movie, i am living in daytona beach florida and am from india. would really appreciate your help, thanx

Sat Mar 08, 05:21:00 PM PST  
Blogger Dilip said...

Thanks, Ankit, for your note. Please send me a note with your contact information and I'll see if I can put you in touch with the filmmaker. How did you find my blog entry? Best wishes!


Sat Mar 08, 07:10:00 PM PST  

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