India 2012 | 84 Min. | OmeU

It’s hard not to be fright­ened at how the sparks fly between chaot­i­cal­ly knot­ted cables and dan­ger­ous fin­gers of flame lick away at the old trans­form­ers, as elder­ly men call upon the younger ones to pour a little water on the source of the fire. Sud­den­ly, every­thing goes black. In Kanpur, India’s former leather cap­i­tal, black­outs fre­quent­ly take up more of the time in some dis­tricts than hours of normal elec­tri­cal ser­vice. That is why Loha Singh – a latter-day Robin Hood – has made it his life’s task to supply the poorer fam­i­lies and ruf­fled small-time entre­pre­neurs with power in such a bizarre manner. His direct adver­sary is the woman at the top of the state energy sup­pli­er Kesco, even if Mrs. Ritu Mahesh­wari is by no means the vil­lain in this film. These two pro­tag­o­nists are merely the lead dancers in an operetta which comes across as total­ly insane.

Pow­er­less is a doc­u­men­tary film about the elec­tri­cal supply in an Indian city, the story unfurl­ing along the tan­gled wires and trac­ing out lines of con­flict of a dia­bol­i­cal com­plex­i­ty in the process. Dorothee Wenner