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MALAYALAM FILM HISTORY

Malayalam film history
The Legacy of Visual Culture
Even much before the arrival of cinema, the people of Kerala were familiar with moving images on the screen through the traditional art form "tholpavakkuthu" (Puppet Dance). Usually exhibited at festivals of village temples, "tholpavakkuthu" uses puppets made of leather with flexible joints. These joints are moved using sticks and the shadow of these moving puppets are captured on a screen using a light source from behind, creating dramatic moving images on the screen. Stories from the mythology were told so, with accompanying dialogues and songs with traditional percussions like the Chenda. "Tholpavakkuthu" uses some of the techniques widely used in cinema like the close-ups and long-shots. Apart from the art of "tholpavakkuthu", which exhibits the nature of cinema, many of the folk arts and classical dance forms like "Kuthu", "Koodiyattam" and "Kathakali" exhibits very high visual qualities in their form. May be this legacy of Kerala┬┤s visual culture lead the filmmakers of Kerala to take up cinema in a different way, rather than mere plain story telling, than anywhere else in India, and the people of Kerala to appreciate them.
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