South Asia and the Himalayas in pictures and debate" cycle 2023-2024

20 November 2023
  • Culture

  • Training

Inalco's South Asia and Himalayas department and the Institut Convergences Migrations (ICM/MIMOB project), with the support of CESSMA (India/Nepal group), are organizing a series of film and documentary events to shed light on current events in the region and its diasporas through images and debate. With the help of specialists, topics as varied as the exile of Sri Lankans and the traumas of war, environmental change and its social consequences in Bengal, the current state of shamanism in Nepal, the burden of peasant debt in India, the lives of Himalayan emigrants in the USA and Canada, and the sensitive issue of the immolations of young Tibetans are addressed. The free screenings are open to all, with no need to book, and there will be plenty of opportunity for discussion afterwards.
Raj Bahadur Gurung durant un rituel d'offrande pour le retour de l'âme d'une patiente
Raj Bahadur Gurung durant un rituel d'offrande pour le retour de l'âme d'une patiente © Aurore Laurent et Adrien Viel‎
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Free admission.

Anne-Sophie Bentz :
Anne Viguier :

Program of the 2023-2024 cycle

Session 1 - Sri Lanka, in images and debate. From Jaffna to Paris: lives and dreams of young Tamil refugees

Monday, October 9, 2023 - 18:00 - 21:00 - PLC (Paris 13e) - Auditorium

  • Soundless Dance directed by Pradeepan Raveendran France, 2019 l 89 mn l VO French

Siva, a young Tamil refugee, lives in France illegally. In the spring of 2009, the civil war that has ravaged Sri Lanka for almost 30 years enters its most violent phase. Siva loses contact with his family, caught between the two fronts. Haunted by the trauma of the war that devastated his childhood, obsessed by the flood of images broadcast on the Internet, he sinks into a waking nightmare.


  • Delon Madavan (researcher, Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM) / CERIAS, Sri Lanka specialist)
  • Lola Guyot (researcher, ICM, specialist in Sri Lanka) and in the presence of the director

Session 2 - Bangladesh and India, in images and debate: Surviving on the border, in the threatened environment of the meandering Ganges

Wednesday, November 8, 2023 - 18:00 - 21:00 - PLC (Paris 13e) - Auditorium

  • Char... the No-Man's Island, by Sourav Sarangi, 2012 l 86 mn

The Char, an island undergoing massive erosion due to altered currents in the Ganges as a result of dam construction, lies between Bangladesh and India. This is where a boy named Rubel and his family live, along with all those who have lost their homes countless times. The meandering Ganges River changes course with cyclones, and its fragile soil frequently collapses. The island appears to be a gift from the Ganges to the inhabitants, offering them shelter after the floods tore away their native village.
The only means of survival for Char's inhabitants is black market smuggling. At 16, Rubel wants to go to school, but he's responsible for the family's livelihood. Reality forces him to make daily trips back and forth between India and Bangladesh to keep his family from starving.


  • Philippe Benoit, teacher-researcher specializing in Bengal (Inalco/Cerlom)
  • Marie-Amélie Candau, geographer, specialist in major South Asian rivers (CESAH)

Session 3 - Nepal in debate: Shamanism today in Nepal, practices under threat?

Wednesday, December 20, 2023 - 6:00 pm - 9:00 pm - PLC (Paris 13e) - Auditorium

  • 3 Chamans, by Aurore Laurent and Adrien Viel, 2014 l 80mn

Deep in the Himalayan hills, shamans travel the intangible. Their souls explore the world of ancestors and spirits to relieve the suffering of the living. To each his own: 3 stories, 3 states, 3 shamans.


  • Aurore Laurent, director
  • Anne de Sales, anthropologist, specialist in shamanism (LESC)

Session 4 - India in debate: Village debt in India

Wednesday, February 14, 2023 - 18:00 - 21:00 - PLC (Paris 13e) - Auditorium

  • Pather Panchali (The Lament of the Path), Satyajit Ray, 1955

In a small village in Bengal, around 1910, Apu, a 7-year-old boy, lives poorly with his family in the ancestral home. His father, taking refuge in his literary ambitions, lets his family sink into poverty. Apu discovers the world, with its mourning and celebrations, its dramas and joys.


  • Isabelle Guérin, economist, India specialist (IRD)
  • David Picherit, anthropologist, India specialist (LESC)

Session 5 - Tibet in debate - "Jackson Heights: a Himalayan melting pot in New York"

Wednesday, March 13, 2024 - 18:00 - 21:00 - PLC (Paris 13e) - Auditorium

  • Diversity Plaza by Kesang Tseten, 2022

Nearly 75,000 Himalayans live in Jackson Heights, Queens, the New York neighborhood that concentrates the greatest linguistic diversity in the USA and perhaps the world.
They work as nail salon employees and nannies, restaurant and grocery store clerks, Uber drivers and entrepreneurs, striving to balance the world they were born into with their new lives as Americans.

Anne-Sophie Bentz (Maîtresse de conférence, Université Paris Cité / CESSMA, specialist in South Asia)
Mathieu Claveyrolas (chercheur, EHESS / CESAH, to be confirmed) and in the presence of the director

Session 6 - Tibet in debate 2: "Tibetan Immolations"

Wednesday, April 24, 2024 - 18:00 - 21:00 - PLC (Paris 13e) - Auditorium

  • Tenzin by Michael LeBlanc and Joshua Reichmann, 2021 l 74mn

This first Tibetan-language film made in Canada tells the story of Tenzin (Tenzin Kelsang), a young Tibetan from Toronto who struggles to come to terms with his older brother's death by self-immolation - an act of non-violent protest against the treatment of Tibetans living in Chinese-occupied Tibet. Vellious and insecure, Tenzin leads a double life, divided between Western youth culture (clubbing, low wages, etc.) and the Buddhist community of his fellow Tibetans in exile, to which he is reluctant to devote himself.


  • Françoise Robin (Professor, Inalco, specialist in Tibet, to be confirmed)
  • Anne-Sophie Bentz (Associate Professor, Université Paris Cité / CESSMA, specialist in South Asia)
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