Fireflies in The Abyss
LIFF Festival Screening: 2016
Director: Chandrasekhar Reddy
Starring: Nishant Rai, Raj Rai, Suraj Subba.
Run time: 88 mins | Certificate: 12A |
Language: Nepali / Hindi / English with English subtitles | Country: India / UK
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This absorbing documentary follows Suraj a 11-year-old boy who works in the ‘rat-hole’ mines in the Jaintia Hills of North East India. There are narrow strips of coal requiring children to descend steep, sheer chutes and burrow into narrow horizontal tunnels to scratch coal out of hard rock, armed with nothing more than a pickaxe and a head torch. In these hostile pits, every day is a game of death. With Suraj’s story as the primary narrative, the life in the mining camp and the intertwining fates of the miners are explored. Most of the events characterise the choices made under the difficult circumstances that they experience, see around them and have to continually resolve – both internally and externally. Contrasting the various responses elicits drama, irony and humour, while gradually building up a composite picture of lives under unusual and extraordinary circumstances.
The Bagri Foundation supports documentary films as a powerful medium to raise social awareness.