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‘The World Is Family’ Review: A Wistful Chronicle of Personal Politics Beginning in India’s Freedom Movement

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Siddhant Adlakha India’s premiere DIY documentarian Anand Patwardhan turns his lens homeward in “The World Is Family,” a personal chronicle of India’s freedom movement and its contemporary cultural milieu.

Through interviews with his aging parents and their friends and family, the director transforms his collection of lo-fi footage and old, monochrome photographs into a patchwork of political memory, resulting in one of the most moving films this year.

Patwardhan’s 1992 breakout “Ram ke Naam” (“In the Name of God”) was a prescient chronicle of India’s growing Hindu supremacist movement, while several of his other works, like “Jai Bhim Comrade” from 2011, shed light on the country’s caste hegemony.

These perspectives and more inform his familial portrait too, which seeks to explore the intimate details of his parent’s youth under British rule, his uncles’ revolutionary activities alongside Mahatma Gandhi, and the ways in which the Gandhian dream of secular liberation has succeeded and failed in the years since India’s independence in 1947.

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