India | 2018 | 103 min | Kannada | Director Attending
Set in rural Karnataka, this family drama centres on Kempanna, a bangle seller who roams the countryside selling beauty products to village women. At home, Kempanna has little time for Saubaghya, his wife of many years, with whom he has been unable to conceive a child (a miracle for which Saubaghya’s mother prays to the local deity). Indeed, Kempanna prefers to spend time in the quiet setting of his childhood friend Hanuma’s farm. Saubaghya, meanwhile, finds companionship with their neighbour’s hormonal teenage son Mahesha, who makes the daily milk delivery. But when Saubaghya insists on taking out a life-insurance policy and disappears to her mother’s house, Kempanna is forced to face the very real problems in their marriage. Featuring a cast of mainly non-professional actors, Balekempa reveals the unspoken desires and hidden relationships that simmer in a close-knit patriarchal community, where tongues are prone to wag and individuals struggle under society’s watchful gaze.
Ere Gowda was born to a farming family in District Mandya, Karnataka, in 1981. His early working life included jobs as a house servant, an office boy, a driver and a security guard. Ere later studied filmmaking at an NGO in Dwarka, where he became a videographer and archivist. In 2016 he worked on Raam Reddy’s Kannada-language feature Thithi (which headlined that year’s DIFF), receiving credits as scriptwriter, second-unit director, line producer and casting director. “strongly believe that a character is not just something that exists in my head,” says Ere. “A character is a question wanting to be answered, and this happens when they become real, in the script and then on screen. I cannot say that I know the characters of my film entirely. ut I can certainly say that I want to know them.”