Lata Mani is a well-known filmmaker, contemplative writer, feminist historian and cultural critic from Mumbai. She spent her teen years in London and her college days in the country’s power capital, Delhi, as a political science student in Delhi University. She also received an M A in Comparative World History and Ph D in History of Consciousness at the University of California, Santa Cruz.She is the author of various works like The Integral Nature of Things: Critical Reflections on the Present (Routledge, 2013), Interleaves: Ruminations on Illness) and Contentious Traditions: The Debate on Sati in Colonial India (University of California Press, 1989). While working as faculty in the department of Women’s Studies at the University of California, Davis a head injury catapulted her into the world of illness and disability. Post this phase her work is known to have undergone deep transformation in terms of its essence, deepening her previous commitment to social justice.
The injury took a major toll on her, leaving her unable to read, do mathematics or engage in continuous narrative. Her cognition became almost mostly through her hearing. More recently she has allowed herself the pleasure of moving beyond text to experiments with sound and image. Her search for a pluralistic and accommodative vocabulary or language that does justice to the experience of a widely sensuous environment one usually finds themselves in led her to try and evolve the kind of filmmaking style she did with the help of technological manipulations.
She also directed Leela’s Journey; a personal video of her mother’s journey with Parkinson’s shot on a Flip Video camera. Her other films which she identifies as video-poetry or visual poetry include Here Now, Nocturne I & II, De Sidere 7 and The Poetics of Fragility; all of them collaborations with Nicolas Grandi a Buenos Aires based filmmaker, interdisciplinary artist and educator.
When Stories Come Calling: The Works of Lata Mani
De Sidere 7
De Sidere 7 is visual piece embodying a multi-genre meditation on the meanings of desire and attempts to explore a universe of alternatives through a world of vision, sound, skin, texture and rhythm.
Here now is a visual poem exploring memory and loss.
Nocturne I is an audio-visual exploration of the urban night.
Nocturne II is an audio-visual exploration of the urban night. It is a continuation of Nocturne I.
The Poetics of Fragility,
The film is a kaleidoscopic exploration of the texture, vitality and aesthetics of fragility featuring internationally renowned scholar-activist Angela Davis and the acclaimed playwright and critic CherrieMoraga and Nora Cortiñas. It interweaves stories of bodily frailty with optical vignettes of nature’s delicacy to reclaim fragility as an intrinsic component to existence, not something to be bemoaned over or overcome.