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Ethnographic Film Series


Organised by the Royal Anthropological Institute’s Film Committee and the SOAS Department of Anthropology & Sociology

Wednesday 28 January 1-3pm, Khalili Lecture Theatre, SOAS Main Building

The Auction House: A Tale of Two Brothers

Ed Owles, 2014, India/UK, 85 mins. Followed by Q & A with director

The oldest auction house in India is fighting for survival in the age of eBay and a changing Calcutta. This film follows its owners, brothers Anwer and Arshad, as they struggle to save their family business and a piece of India’ heritage which still brings people from across Indian society through its doors today.  Elder brother Anwar recently returned to his homeland after a lifelong career in the UK and is desperate to revive the fortunes of his beloved auction house.  But the odds are stacked against him: a chaotic, fragmented city, an ailing workforce, and most notably his quarrelsome younger brother, Arshad, India’s longest-standing auctioneer who has worked at the Russell Exchange since the 1960s and knows the world of antiques inside out.  As the brothers come to terms with each other and their future, their amusing, argumentative, but ultimately heartfelt relationship opens up a wider insight on whether old family businesses and unique places like the Russell Exchange still have a place amidst the economic realities of 21st century India.

For further information on the films please contact: RAI Film Officer, Susanne Hammacher, film@therai.org.uk, or Mahnaz Marashi, SOAS Anthropology Department, mm97@soas.ac.uk