Under the palace wall

David MacDougall
Australia, India | OmeU
Q&A with: David MacDougall

From the 16th cen­tu­ry the Indian vil­lage of Del­wara in south­ern Rajasthan was ruled as a prin­ci­pal­i­ty of the king­dom of Mewar. Its palace, which over­looks the vil­lage, is now a luxury hotel - a world remote from the daily life of the vil­lagers. Fol­low­ing on from his film SCHOOL SCAPES, which was inspired by the early cinema of Lumière, David Mac­Dougall here employs a series of pre­cise­ly observed scenes to explore Del­wara’s local pri­ma­ry school as a part of con­tem­po­rary vil­lage life—a life that con­tin­ues “under the palace wall”. This beau­ti­ful­ly com­posed film is an elo­quent impres­sion­is­tic por­trait of the life of the vil­lage, with­out a link­ing nar­ra­tive and with­out link­ing char­ac­ters. Rather it shies away from con­ven­tion­al lit­er­al mean­ings to convey instead some­thing more del­i­cate and elu­sive - the feel­ing of the place, the sense of the his­tor­i­cal past that towers over the vil­lage, the vital­i­ty and chaos of the daily life of the vil­lagers. (RAI)