Shaunak Sen will screen his award-winning recent documentary at 5 pm on Tuesday, March 14, 2017 in 401 Fisher-Bennett Hall. There will be a discussion with the director after the screening.
The documentary Cities of Sleep takes us into a heady world of insurgent sleepers' communities and the infamous "sleep mafia" in Delhi, where just securing a safe sleeping spot often becomes a question of life and death. The film traces the lives of two individuals, Shakeel and Ranjeet. Shakeel, a renegade homeless sleeper, has for the last seven years slept in a diverse range of improvised places like subways, under park benches, parking lots, abandoned cars and, most recently, at areas controlled by the sleep mafia. Ranjeet runs the “sleep-cinema” community at Loha Pul, a huge double-story iron bridge straddling the banks of the river Yamuna. A thin strip of land under Loha Pul houses shanty cinemas where over 400 homeless people sleep through the day for a nominal price. The flooding of the river Yamuna poses a threat to the people sleeping there each monsoon season. The film not only looks at the tremendous pressure that the need to find a safe place to sleep exerts on the homeless in the city, but also presents a broader philosophical exploration of sleep.