Zeljko Mirkovic, Serbian documentary director-producer (his company is called Optimist Film) and occasionally a very good interviewer, has published a long conversation with Rada Sesic, a very well known documentary director and teacher and festival programmmer – and an expert in Indian cinema. The interview is to be found in its full length at the IDF (Institute of Documentary Film) site, see below. Here is a small clip, where Rada talks about Rasa, a new angle on documentaries:
Mirkovic: Documentary has seriously entered the market and it’s represented best by a large number of subgenres (archive documentary, TV documentary, docudrama, etc.) One of these stands out in the market – a creative documentary. What are the defining elements of a creative documentary?
Sesic: It is difficult to say what a creative documentary is; perhaps it is better to say what it is not. It’s not television reportage, nor superficial coverage of an event, nor a historic account of a certain epoch, landscape, or a person. Every story is acceptable, but the author has to express their personal cinematic style, their personal visual approach, their thinking about a particular content they want to film. Ultimately, film is art and we expect art to touch us, shake us, make us think, ask questions, make us come back to it, change us as reflective beings. There is a text in Hindu Veda called Natya Veda which speaks about the role of art. It contains a tract on drama that can be applied to art in general. It says that every piece of art has to contain various Bhavas (feelings, moods) which will make a viewer experience Rasa (a state of mind), a complex experience of enjoyment (the experience may also be negative in the sense that you may experience fear, sorrow, anxiety). What is important is that Rasa works in such a way that a viewer mentally and spiritually absorbes the intensive experience of art.