Filming a question

Last week we met a young couple film makers at the house of a friend in Rockport. I like these new encounters, especially with young people who are doing amazing things. We learned about the documentary they are currently filming about children with cancer in the developing world. And then they told us about their documentary about the Sikhs (under the turban) which was being screened 4 days later at MIT.

Axel was supposed to come but the train came at a different time, it rained, he was soaked, in a bad mood and stayed home to cook. I invited a friend. We had dinner at the Tibetan restaurant in Cambridge and then made our way, in the pouring rain (after months of draught) to MIT.

We learned much about the Sikhs, what the diaspora has in common and what not. I did not know that they are the world’s fifth largest religion (in terms of followers). The film started in response to a question from a 9 year old girl to her parents: what does it mean to be a Sikh? The parents had enough money to take the girl on an investigation that spanned five years and several continents, duly filmed by the film maker couple. They spoke to cheese making and Italian speaking Sikhs in Cremona Italy, and Spanish speaking Sikhs in Argentina. They followed from a helicopter the orange-turbaned members of a Vancouver motor cycle club through the awe-inspiring landscape of southwest Canada.

They filmed a gaggle of young men displaying the Singh Street fashion, wearing their turbans proudly in fashion statement ways. They spent days with the grieving members of a Sikh temple in Wisconsin where 6 of their community were gunned down by a white supremacist who may have thought that turbans=Arabs=terrorists. And then of course they visited the Golden Temple in Amritsar and family members India. I am currently trying to get a visa for India and had to fill in a form that made me swear my trip to India would not plan to be involved anything religious. I wondered how they got permission from the Indian government to film Sikhs. Apparently it was not easy. But the shots in Indian were magnificent.

 

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