8th DMZ Docs(2016)
I AM DOCU
Cities of Sleep takes us into a sleeper’s communities as well as the infamous ‘sleep mafia’ in Delhi where just securing a safe sleeping spot often becomes a question of life and death. The film trails the lives of two individuals. Shakeel tries to find a safe sleeping space and Ranjeet runs the ‘sleep-cinema’ community. The film looks at not only the tremendous social and political pressure that sleep exerts on the homeless in the city but is also a philosophical exploration of sleep at large.
Homeless people in Delhi sleep on dividers. It may look like just another chaotic face, or (incomprehensible) eccentricity of any big cities in India, but there are reasons for this behavior. The dividers are the perfect place for homeless people, in which the winds blown from cars passing by help to relieve the heat, and to keep mosquitos away in the scorching hot summer. This documentary opens with a rather personal question “Have you ever wondered why people sleep on dividers during summers?”, but what audiences would learn later in the film is more socio-economic spheres of the city. Cities of Sleep invites you to an unofficial site of economy which sustains the big city Delhi, India. When the night comes, lots of rudimentary tents are installed in vacant lots and places under the bridge in Delhi with dozens of mattress in each of those tents. Homeless people spend the night here for a couple of rupees. The way of homeless and poor peoples’ lives which construct huge chaos in Delhi is actually working on its own orders and economy. The ones who control this economy are the organized groups, and this economy, which is not in the legitimate sector of society though, is sustained in the close relationships with the ones who hold the legitimate controls over the city. The two sectors need each other.
This film is neither a documentary whose figures, or dramas created by a certain place are so important, nor a journalistic one dealing with social issues. The camera in the film locates itself nearby the space or the figure by and large. The part on Shakeel’s past, which apparently looks like a deviation, might be intended by the distance of camera. This film does not want to just deal with the ‘sleep’ as a social issue, but to go forward to the philosophical questions of the sleep in the human lives. [Hwang Miyojo]
Cities of Sleep (2015)
Contribution / World Sales Aman Mann
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