Dir. Marc Isaacs - 24min - 2017 - UK
Notes on Bangladesh had a very different genesis from my other shorts, and consequently, a very different narrative form. Like Sisters, the unedited rushes had been lying around in a box on a shelf for many years. The material was actually filmed in 2007 after I was invited by a French production company to make an ‘ethnographic’ film about anything anywhere in the world. They had received development funds from Arte Television and the Musee de l’Homme in Paris to make a collection of such films. I originally thought about filming in the remote tribal areas of India but for various pragmatic reasons ended up in Bangladesh on the Char, islands in the Ganges Delta that suffer severe flooding during the monsoon rains.
I undertook a twenty-five day research trip to find characters and locations, prior to my return for a 3-month filming period the following year. During this trip, I filmed twelve hours of ‘research notes’ on a small Sony camera. I never returned to make the film because the funding fell through. These notes therefore became the film. The presence of the human face and the sense of waiting permeate the film and, of course, the passage of time is a distinct feature.
I had never made a film so far from home amongst people whose reality was so different from my own. I understood little or nothing of what they expressed on camera and was left to focus on gestures and body language to get by. I was constantly questioning my motivation in a way that I never usually do and I decided to leave this ambiguity in the final edited version of the film.