“We Couldn’t Catch a Car” | (April 2015)
A promotional film-still from an upcoming project I’m working on both independently and in response to my Digital Video and Sound class. The film is a found-footage montage, spectating the first-hand perspective and access to technology Bangladeshis have in rural villages, and also, what simply interests them in recording certain aspects of life.
An element which drives the film is the conceptual notion of emphasizing the cruciality and beauty of water (inspired by Ralph Steiner’s 1929 “H2O”) simply, as a sacred recourse in Bangladesh: an element which drives pollution, drought, floods, cleansing, fishing, textiles, and leisure. Whether children go out to dance in a storm, or men teach younger boys to fish in lurky ripples, the notion of water, historically, is a metaphorical phenomenon which is alluded to constantly in Bangladeshi poetry, music, and classical literature.
In the village, the notion of time is lost: it is rare one physically looks at an actual clock, and the judgement of day is simply assumed by looking at the sun. As life is both passive and laborious, the hope that a rickshaw comes through the village (also interpreted as a car vehicle, or gari) disappears as a villiager’s tasks intensify. For instance, the film’s title is centered around a piece of dialogue a woman says to her husband frustratingly: “Well, exactly… Can’t you see because it’s daytime, and if we don’t leave now, we’ll never be able to catch a car?” Yet, the meaning of her phrase become redundant, and starts to lose meaning in the midst of priorities.
The paradox here is that the car is not only missed as a transportation vehicle, but also as a figurative Bengali saying when it comes to fishing: when one catches a fish, it a blessing, it doesn’t matter if one hooked a glorious car out of the lake.