“I just wanted to showcase the lives of people who live in that particular place and are often ignored or go unnoticed,” says Pebbles writer and director PS Vinothraj

A still from Pebble’s Twitter @Binged_

PS Vinothraj’s debut film Koozhangal (Pebbles) won the prestigious Tiger Award, the highest honor at the 50 Edition of the Rotterdam International Film Festival (IFFR) Koozhangal is the first Tamil and second Indian film after Sanal Kumar Sasidharan’s S Durga (2017), which competes against 16 feature films including Landscapes of Resistance, Looking for Verena and Black Medusa

A disgruntled father (ganapathy) is determined to bring back his wife and daughter who fled home to escape his violence. He forces his school son to go with him and together they take a eight-mile road trip into the heart a drought-stricken village in Madurai Pebbles keeps the family at the center and paints a detailed picture of a people stripped of their livelihood and suffering from abject poverty in a drought-ravaged village

The film was inspired by a personal incident in the director’s life when his sister, rejected by her in-laws, had to undertake a 20 km journey on foot in unforgiving terrain with her baby on her back. “I was upset and worried about the incident and wanted to do something about it. But the more I learned about the event, the more I realized that my sister’s story was not a one-off scenario. Several women had suffered similar ailments. My film is an attempt to register their lives ”

While the film is an ode to their resilience, it depicts the dysfunctional father and son relationship “Why didn’t you base the story on a mother who made this long journey with her son?” I ask, “If I had cast a woman, the story would have become gender-specific. This would have limited the scope for wider debate about the film,” he replies. “It was also,” he continues, “a result of an intention of revenge Revenge drama in which the man goes through a similar ordeal“I thought, ‘Why would the woman have to take this groundbreaking walk all the time, what if the man went instead?”

Vinothraj’s discomfort with easy labels, essential narratives and binary files can be clearly seen in the film.Not a word is said about the character’s caste, their marginalized condition or the injustice of their circumstances, but the filmmaker’s policy is understandable for the viewer Pebbles accomplishes this through his masterfully written and meticulously executed script A single lane connects one village to another On this paved road a bus goes By the roadside there is a large field of leafless vegetation It is a place for a poor family’s livelihood An old grandmother catches rats from an underground burrow We see not only the process of catching but also the roasting of the rat and the ultimate compassion of the young granddaughter who offers the weary traveler a piece of the roasted rat as innocently as she offers a candy to an old woman gets groundwater from a sparse hen puddle she slowly takes out one mug after another and we know it will take a while we watch her thinking it’s a once in a lifetime situation, the plight of an extremely poor woman next, the camera zooms in to a wide angle and a half A dozen women wait in line to fill their pots. Not a word is said and the drought-caused suffering of the entire village grows glaring

For a Hindi cinema-goer like me, the lack of dialogue in a film is amazing.When a camera turns to an actor’s face, we expect them to speak to each other and address us at the same time, especially in mainstream cinema, we are used to Watching actors explain / describe even the most basic details of a scene A hero points to his bike and says, “Come on, get on my bike” when he can avoid saying “my bike” altogether (as the viewer does can already see it) and just say, “Come on, sit down”

Then there are films with a “social message” in which dialogue often takes on the role of a (moral) commentary. Pebbles defies exposure for both reasons. “I firmly believe that a film is primarily a visual medium Why use dialogue when the picture can convey the story? “Notes Vinothraj A visual approach is diverse, however, Tamil cinema in particular is known for its strong and ferocious visual action, charged with violent political imagery. In Pebbles, however, the visual presentation, while equally impressive, daring and contemplative, is subtle and cautious

“What does this sensitivity inform?” I’m curious to know “In 2017 I came in contact with S Murugaboopathy, the renowned theater director of Manal Magudi (Rhythms of Land), a postmodern theater from Tamil Nadu. I worked and traveled with them for a year, we had hour-long plays with no dialogue, which were fully conveyed through the artist’s body language and facial expressions It was exciting to see and I wanted to incorporate that vitality into the medium of cinema Karuththadaiyaan, the actor who plays the lead role of the father, was also part of the same troupe, and Vinothraj was his very impressed After completing the script, the director had contacted him about the role However, due to a lack of film experience, Karuththadaiyaan initially hesitated to accept it

Regarding the spread of social messaging in a film, the director is clear: “I don’t want to spoon the audience, I didn’t want to convey a message to the audience through my film. I don’t think that’s a filmmaker’s job “He claims” I just wanted to present the lives of people who live in this particular place and who are often ignored or go unnoticed. For him, the characters’ lives were no different from the life he had seen around them, This affective distance informed politics about his image design The gaze is neither compassionate nor indifferent He rather expresses his solidarity through a sense of documentation and testimony.In the manner of a mobile camera, we follow the characters when they speed through dry land, just as they walk through women’s huts or Stomp into the arcades of men This creates the director’s intimate knowledge of the landscape in a wonderful way through passionately crafted scenes

Arittapatti, a village near Madurai, Tamil Nadu, where the film is set, is barren farmland. Hunger and water shortages are widespread In summer, the scorching heat can afflict even the mildest of hearts. Vinothraj lived over two years in this village to get acquainted with every inch of the ecosystem “Like the father in the film, I walked this landscape every day, met people and heard their stories. During my research, I found that the people in the village were extremely lovable and at the same time were extremely aggressive. I realized that the environment strongly influenced and determined their behavior. So I also began to observe the changes in my behavior. On some days I was excited and frustrated, on pleasant mornings I felt satisfied “

This is how he wrote the script – through intuition and cultivated introspection.The director made sure that his cameramen, editor, and sound engineer stayed in the village for three months before filming began, spending their time walking him through the grounds to wander and walk “It was important for the people working on the film to have a strong connection with the script, understand what the film is exactly about and why it was made that brought your commitment to the project In the end, the director planned the division of the recordings, the number of images, the duration of each scene, its staging, the transitions, etc., with meticulous precision, long before they started filming “I was absolutely convinced that the landscape would be announced by a sign when it was ready to shoot. And as soon as the time came, we immediately started filming. We had done our homework and were fully prepared when that moment came, the entire crew shot barefoot under a relentless sun so that external noises would not disturb their synchronization sound

The humility in the production of the film carries over fully to its strength, despite its limited resources and in every seventy minutes the film can take a blow that even the fanciest films never match. Because of this elementary structure of the film, the IFFR has -Jury may rightly refer to the film as “a lesson in pure cinema.” Like a mystic, Vinothraj works with bare energies in an environment and makes miracles out of nowhere on a bus, the clink of a little girl’s anklets, a strict mother looking after her child, a young girl smiling to a stimulated shower of dry leaves, and even an adorable puppy playing in the street!

The love and appreciation pouring from all over the world is overwhelming for the director, he tells me.When they submitted a short film from the film to the NFDC Film Bazaar, he had no inkling of the fate of the film He writes the success Ram ( whom he calls his mentor) to a well-known director in Tamil cinema whose Peranbu (2019) also had its world premiere at IFFR. “Ram Sir told us it was the best Tamil film he had ever seen,” we thought he Scherze Ram not only directed the filmmaker on minor editing issues, but also brought on board sound engineer Yuvan Shankar Raja, as well as producers – filmmaker Vignesh Sivan, actress Nayanthara and Sai Devanand S, so the project finally started

From distributing résumés to directors visiting the DVD shop he used to work in, to winning the highest award on an international platform, Vinothraj has come a long way, and the journey was worth it and just now started

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21st February 2021 9:49:47 AM


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World news – FI – Filmmaker PS Vinothraj on his Rotterdam winner Pebbles, the politics of his imaging and his humble beginnings – Entertainment News, Firstpost

Source: https://www.firstpost.com/entertainment/filmmaker-ps-vinothraj-on-his-rotterdam-winner-pebbles-the-politics-of-his-image-making-and-his-humble-beginnings-9328481.html