Go backBack to selection

“The Lush Forest, Throbbing With a Vast Diversity of Life, Emerges as a Character” | Anirban Dutta and Anupama Srinivasan, Nocturnes

Moths of various sizes and colors swarm a piece of fabric.Nocturnes, courtesy of Sundance Institute.

Films are made of and from places: the locations they are filmed in, the settings they are meant to evoke, the geographies where they are imagined and worked on. What place tells its own story about your film, whether a particularly challenging location that required production ingenuity or a map reference that inspired you personally, politically or creatively?

The opportunity to be in this incredibly rich and stunning forest in the Eastern Himalayas and make a film here has been life-altering for us. How to share what we saw with our eyes, heard with our ears, and felt with our being? Could we use moving images and sound to create a truly immersive experience, one that is possible only through the medium of cinema? We asked ourselves these questions when we started work on Nocturnes. As we repeatedly visited the location in the northeast Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh near the Indo-Bhutan border, we witnessed the glory of the natural phenomena on a scale and an intensity that took our breath away. While filming, it was not a picture-postcard beauty that we sought, but a deeper connection with the forest that unfolds in real time. In the edit, we refined our gaze further, culling out both the moments of sonic and visual drama, and the gentler moments of calm and quietude. The lush forest, throbbing with a vast diversity of life, emerges as a character in its own right as the film responds to the symphony of sounds and the inherent rhythms of the trees, the wind and the rain. The human beings and their voices are embedded in the location and the soundscape. Through the cinematic language of the film, we evolve a way of seeing and listening in which the human beings are not isolated from, or dominating the natural world, but are an integral part of it.

See all responses to our annual Sundance Question here.

© 2024 Filmmaker Magazine. All Rights Reserved. A Publication of The Gotham