The most encouraging development in film in the recent past has been a change in the attitude towards what is commonly called alternative cinema. Representation of the minority —of race, ethnicity, sex, sexuality etc—is said to be adopting the ‘new cultural politics of difference.’ Broadly, there are two impulses: one, a celebration of the differences, where new identities are formed and there is a sense of pride in them. Two, a desire to assimilate the alternative into a master narrative. More importantly, there are sides to be taken, by the filmmakers, by the audience, by everyone. Is there really a new culture, is it beneficial, if yes, how, what is the nature of the hybrid that is often a result of these new impulses etc are all questions we are still thinking about and to which there are a wide variety of answers. But the debate is on and with every passing moment we are faced with new possibilities and new perspectives.
New media and developments within film have facilitated easy means of presenting points of view: film festivals, multiplexes, YouTube etc have enormous food for thought and immense possibilities. Yet, the basic distinction between mainstream and the alternative is visible in the use of these very words. A change is upon us, but much is to be achieved before it is felt by one and all.
Thus, the inaugural issue of WideScreen aims to critically re-examine cinema against the backdrop of existing hegemonies and re-conceptualise the cinema located in the gaps of the popular. We invite critical papers on “subaltern cinema” and the “subaltern” in cinema.
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