James Boo

Mass Romantic is a documentary feature film that follows the creation of a non-profit film archive in the wake of the world’s greatest cinematic extinction event: the large-scale destruction and decay of celluloid film in India. By tracking an improbable team of archivists and film industry workers whose previous roles in the cinema have vanished, the documentary reveals how history is wiped off the face of the earth—and who decides what is kept for future generations. An unexpected connection to local archivists and local theater owners led James Boo to investigate the massive loss of celluloid that has taken place over the past 20 years in India. But reading the work of South Asian scholars helped the artist to understand the grave difference between preserving history and curating it. Thus, Boo aspires to tell a story that leaves viewers asking open-ended questions about access to media, institutional decay, and the erasure of culture.