Theater N in
This fact was brought home to me as I watched Fotografias. It took a while for the documentary to catch on with me. It is however a noble effort and has its moments. It appealed to me since it deals with issues of identity, what makes you who you are and it is not an easy question to answer if at all there is an answer.
The documentary tracks the story of Andrés Di Tella son of an Argentine father and sociologist Torcuato Di Tella , and an Indian mother (Kamala Aparao) who is from a princely family in
It is this part of this identity that he starts to explore in an attempt to understand how and why so little of it his mother has left behind. And he does not have a lot to go on, just a few letters, pictures and film that his mother has shot. In addition to that he has memories of his visit to
Given the dearth of material Andrés has to carry out his research using the few artifacts he has from his mother’s life, talk to his father and her many relatives back in
The mixing of Argentine and Indian culture coupled with the gaps left by Andre’s mother will make you empathize with Andre’s journey and his need to resolve questions of his fractured identity, multiculturalism and self in relation to the world around.
So what exactly are the gaps left by Andre’s mother Kamala? Born in a conservative royal family, where women were expected to conform with little personality of their own, she became something of a rebel and identified with the socialist cause. Perhaps the die was cast then and further grew stronger with her relationship and marriage to Andre’s father and her move to
Andrés recalls a memory of himself and his mother when he was a child of being in a car when they were almost out of gas, and they were going downhill and his mother was not worried. “She felt so carefree.. free of the bonds/issues of race, religion, ethnicity, nationality and culture” (not verbatim). And perhaps that is what she was trying to be in her life.. free, while some of us celebrate this aspect of ourselves and take a lot of pride in our culture and heritage, not everyone feels this pull as strongly. I can certainly identify with that.
While I will not call this an excellent documentary it certainly was interesting to watch, and I know at least one other audience member did not share that sentiment. As she walked out behind me I heard her mention to one of the theater volunteers "What was all that about?" .