Naeem Mohaiemen | Jole Dobe Na (Those Who Do Not Drown): Experimenter - Hindustan Road

7 - 14 April 2021

Jole Dobe Na (Those Who Do Not Drown), a film by Naeem Mohaiemen premieres in Kolkata at Experimenter-Hindustan Road. The film was conceived in response to a prompt given by Raqs Media Collective (for Yokohama Triennial 2020) to think about the afterlife of caregivers. In an empty hospital in Kolkata, a man faces protocols of blood, a subtly discriminatory office, and a vacant operating theater. His mind is on a loop of the last months of his wife’s life, when a quiet argument developed. When is the end of pharma-medical care, whose life is it anyway? They were an estranged couple, thrown back into intimacy by an unknown illness. Even in a dreamworld of his making, the paranoia of infection is twinned with a hesitant intimacy.

The film revisits themes from the earlier Tripoli Cancelled (2017)–family unit as locus for pain-beauty dyads, abandoned buildings as staging ground for lost souls, and the necessity of small prevarications to keep on living. In Tripoli, the boredom of daily life is punctuated by letters to an invisible wife, and endless readings of Richard Adams’ dark children’s book Watership Down. In Jole, a memory of final days is kept alive by the partner, and the book readings are from Syed Mujtaba Ali’s stories of Europe between the two wars.