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    Children of the Pyre

    Põletusmatuse lapsed |

    Director: Rajesh Jala

    Country: India

    Year: 2008

    Length: 74'

    Language: In Hindi with English subtitles

    Seven small children work day and night at the biggest crematorium on the planet, located on the banks of the Ganges in the holy city of Varanasi. The children earn their living by keeping the 40 funeral pyres burning 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Hundreds of children and adults, all belonging to the caste of untouchables, work to burn the bodies. Every day, some 150 deceased Hindus are brought to Varanasi by their families. The children's job is to stoke the fire, pluck human limbs off the ground, perform the cremation rites and do other dirty jobs. Director Rajesh Jala reveals their horrible working and living conditions in a captivating cinema-vérité style. Shot over the course of 18 months, Children of Pyre captures the children's misery in a visually superb manner. Searching for the most intriguing moments in the children's life, including their refuge in smoking marijuana, Jala has succeeded in making a powerful and memorable film. There are many documentaries about Varanasi, but it's not often that we get to see a child's vision of hell on earth.

    “Films don't bring revolution. But they change or influence perception. And firm perception to fight for justice and humanity is the solid foundation for revolution. This film is a humble attempt to influence people's perception and generate an awareness to transform the lives of these kids. Many more such attempts would, hopefully, one day transform the lives of millions of neglected children who are exploited and abused everyday. “ Rajesh Jala