The Image Threads (2010) - Vijay
What better country to make a film about the internet age than India, the largest IT labor exporting country? This serene, visual contemplation on the nature of the virtual world and finding one's identity in it starts with an ironic quote: "I had a dream about reality. It was such a relief to wake up." by a Polish aphorist Stanislaw J. Lec, which sets the tone of The Image Threads.
An IT professor named Hari, 'pimping (in his own words)' the information technology laborers to the US and Europe, narrates most of the film in philosophical monologue. He sometimes engages in conversations online with a virtual persona who might be either a sultry female model or a man in a mini-skirt or both. Other times he recalls his black magic priest grandfather.
At one point, parallels are drawn between internet virus and the Plague by a girl seductively treading around him, singing the nursery rhyme, Ring Around the Rosie. But the film's languid pace and beauty betrays the ominous subject. Shot in exotic Kerala locale, the film is nothing short of stunning- water stained walls, rusty water pipes, vegetation infused houses, ancient temples, lush jungles, dark caves, bearded yogis, beautiful girls in colorful costumes, sleek gizmos, wires, lights and wikipedia, all vying for your attention. Every frame is work of art. Director Vipin Vijay and his cinematographer Shehnard Jalal often distinguish, then blur the boundaries between the past and present, technology and nature, reality and fantasy, tangible and intangible.
Devoid of any visible narrative, The Image Thread is unlike any film I've ever seen. It is more like a visual essay than a film. To enjoy it, you have to give in to its luscious visuals to wash over you. Calming and hypnotic, it's literally the best films to meditate on.
The Image Threads plays on October 28th (7:30PM) at SVA Theater as a part of 2010 South Asian International Film Festival here in NY.
Link to SAIFF
Review at twitch