Siren is a vivid portrayal of a time when the country's most important industry was pushed to its gradual death. Jute ‘The golden fibre’ as it was once called used to be crucial in both farming and industrial sectors.
The Jute sector rose to its prominence in Bengal under British rule, supplying rope across the world. Farmers mastered the craft of cultivating and processing the fibre whilst a new set of workers, jute-mill workers, emerged as an industrial force skilled in jute-mill operations.
After Bangladesh gained independence in 1971, the whole sector was nationalised. Unfortunately, due to complex reasons, this did not benefit the nation. The decline continued into the next decades. International donors' policy of strict retrenchment of the sector, which the Bangladesh government did not oppose to, resulted in the shutdown of the factories one after another and layoffs of thousands of workers.
Siren focuses on the closure of several jute mills at Khalishpur in Khulna. This film is a witness to the hunger and uncertainty that the workers' families faced. The film portrays a time when the future for these families was bleak. Jute worker families recount the reality of hunger, unemployment, suicide, and prostitution.
Molla Sagar is a prominent documentary filmmaker in Bangladesh. Sagar makes films with a deep respect and empathy for the people he depicts. The subjects in his work do not live in a space of pity; he aims to show their resilience in the face of impossible challenges.
Sagar’s films focus on people living in all corners of Bangladesh struggling to attain the basics for survival because of issues caused by environmental disaster. His films cover the killing of a river, the salination of farmland, the consequences of open cast coal mining, land grabbing, protest, and the fight for survival of people living on the coastal belt while they are hostage to the climate emergency.