Phantom India: Dream and Reality
1969, France, Louis Malle, 51 min.
Presented in association with The Criterion Collection
Free to Members
The 1969 documentary Phantom India is Louis Malle’s seven-part portrait of India. It serves as an investigation into the country’s sociopolitical landscape, traditions, and people, as well as a furthering Malle’s self-discovery as a non-fiction filmmaker.
This fourth episode is grounded in the notion that time - in the western sense - does not exist for Indian men and women. Malle and his crews find they have become one with their Indian subjects with regard to time. Malle indicates that they are gaining an understanding of their subjects not on a conceptual level, but on rhythmic, sensorial and atemporal levels. The episode then moves into a series of events and spectacles, loosely connected by their surrealistic, hallucinatory nature and sheer inexplicability for the western viewer.