Sabu by Sabu (in progress)
In 1937, Robert Flaherty's fiction film Elephant Boy came out featuring an actor he discovered: the 13-year-old Sabu.
Flaherty's film is dripping with orientalism and racism, it is, after all, based on a story by Rudyard Kipling. However there are moments where Sabu is able to "break" the film, through his charisma and his performance. There are moments of complication and joy in this text, and the fact that a 13-year-old Indian boy could star in a film in 1937 is subversive in its own way
Sharing a name and working in film, I have always felt an intense affinity towards Sabu, who only lived into his 40s, acting in a few dozen films in the United Kingdom and Hollywood. "Sabu by Sabu" is an experimental film where I recut Elephant Boy to both liberate Sabu, but also to expose some of the innate orientalism and racism. This project aims to tell us something about cinema itself, as well as Sabu.
The above version was conceived for a gallery installation, however, subsequent versions are being cut for film festivals.