PODCAST| Matt Micucci interviews Aditya Vikram Sengupta, director of the film Jonaki.
To listen to the interview, click on the ► icon on the right, just above the picture
Director Aditya Vikram Sengupta presented his latest film, Jonaki, at the 47th International Film Festival Rotterdam, where it had its world premiere in the festival’s Bright Future strand. The film was inpired by the stories her mother used to tell the director and the emotions, thoughts, and experiences that resulted in him from his grandmother’s coma and subsequent passing. “It was my way of coming to terms with things because I was very deeply attached to her,” he explains. “As a child, when I would hear these stories, I had an innocent way of constructing and imagining the stories … even in the film … it’s almost like a fairytale.” The director also talks about the reason for his disjointed but cohesive narrative, the influence of dream on Jonaki, and the influence of music on everything he does. “Most of the things that I do are very musical,” he tells us in this interview. “I’ve been a musician since childhood … there’s an attempt to achieve this balance and rhythm and this form of balance and dance in whatever I do, whether it’s film or painting.”
Jonaki, an eighty-year-old woman, finds herself in a decaying world of nostalgia. She relives moments of her life with a strangeness that churns up feelings buried deep in her soul. Her memories surface in dream-like modes in which the line between real and surreal blurs. The echoing space of this fascinating meditative journey gently and carefully confronts us with a possible moment of transition between life and death. The cinematic form of a beautiful, esoteric trance with meticulously created painterly images suggests a temporal and spatial void inhabited by a less immediate kind of time. The Bengali director (also a painter, animator and film author), whose remarkable debut Labour of Love was screened at IFFR in 2015, daringly and successfully digs deeper in search of an exciting personal cinematic language.