Peter Blum is pleased to present the film "A Season Outside"1997, by Amar Kanwar.
In "A Season Outside," Kanwar traces the story of oppression and violence through current and historic events between his native India and Pakistan. The film opens at a border crossing between these two countries and the nightly ceremony of closing the gates to the border. Strutting soldiers are watched by an ever changing group of onlookers as the flags are lowered and the gates are closed for the night. Because of a terrorist attack at this border vehicles are no longer permitted to pass. As a result we watch the excruciating labor of carrying the goods, that still need to cross, on the heads of workers, as they step up to a symbolic white demarcation line. A heart searching monologue by Kanwar accompanies the images we see. He strives to make sense of oppression and to decide when, if ever, it is permissible to react to unbearable cruelty with violent uprising. The figurehead of Gandhi is ever present in these musings. The conclusion, in the end, seems to be drawn that non violence is not an inactive stance: that one can use intelligence to intercede with bestiality and that in this there is a possibility for change. As this monologue unfolds we watch images that hit with a physical force. The images do not intend to impart information documentary style. They weave a story that impacts beyond the purely mental level. The film takes the subject of violence in human society way beyond the particular situation of two countries to include the interactions in families and the violence inherent in nature.
Amar Kanwar was born in India in 1964 and has lived and worked in New Delhi for the last 15 years. He was awarded the Golden Conch at the Mumbai International Documentary Film Festival in1998 and the Golden Gate at the San Francisco International Film Festival in 1999, both for "A Season Outside".
Amar Kanwar received major recognition in the art world in 2002 after his extraordinary debut at Documenta 11 in Kassel, Germany. His first one man exhibition in the U.S. was at the Renaissance Society in Chicago in February 2003.