V. Jayasundara – India in Cannes

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Mushrooms - Chatrak

The 66th Cannes Film Festival is all set to commence from 15 to 26 May 2013. The search of Indian connections with Cannes leads to various results including the link to one award winning Shri Lankan director Vimukthi Jayasundara.

Born in 1977 in Ratnapura of southern Shri Lanka, Vimukthi Jayasundara studied first in Mahinda College, Galle and later in the Film and Television Institute of India, Pune in the west of India. In 2001, he went to France at the prestigious National Studio for Contemporary Arts – Le Fresnoy to complete his post graduation. Having worked as a journalist, film critic and writer for the screen, he became a resident at the Cinéfondation of the Festival of Cannes in 2003.
The integral part of this entire journey is his films. To look back at his very first creation, we come across the film “The Land Of  Silence”.  This film is the depiction of Shri Lanka during the civil war that lasted for thirty years. Use of cinematographic equipments from sixties with the background commentary is another feature of this film which silently stripes away the glory of the war. Many film festivals including Marseilles,Rotterdam and Berlin took note of this documentary and eventually the Moholy-Nagy scholarship followed! This scholarship led him to Le Fresnoy for two years. In 2001, Vimukthi Jayasundara along with his professor in Le Fresnoy, Tasi Ming-ling made his second film “Vide pour l’amour” (Empty for love). Shot in France and Shri Lanka, this film without dialogues was produced by Le Fresnoy and became the official entry for Cannes Film Festival 2003. It also won the Best Director Award at the Novo Mesto International Short Film festival –Slovenia in the same year. Consequently, Vimukthi Jayasundara became the resident at the Cinéfondation of Cannes Film Festival.

Caméro d'Or - Festival de Cannes

The graduation of this maestro’s creation was ensured with his next film “The Forsaken Land” (Sinhala: Sulanga Enu Pinisa). This film is the expression of emotional mélange and turmoil undergone by a man, his wife and her sister living together in an isolated house. Many international film festivals along with various international critics took special note of this film. But to add the cherry on the top, Vimukthi Jayasundara became the first Shri Lankan to win the prestigious Camera d’Or award in Cannes Film festival 2005.

Few of his other must watch creations are Between two words, Light in the Yellow Breathing Space, 60 Seconds of Solitude in Year Zero, Mushrooms etc. Out of these, the film Mushrooms (Chatrak) is important in Indian scenario as it is a Bengali film shot in India. Known for the projection of abstract naturalism, this film was noticed by many international reviews and critics. Talking of a Bengali architect working in Dubai, his return to Calcutta where his long time girlfriend awaits him and the search of his lost brother, this film links many aspects to create the impact of preening nihilism. Mushrooms was shown in many film festivals including the Toronto International Film Festival 2011, the Pacific Meridian film festival in Vladivostok, Russia and most importantly, it was shown at the prestigious Directors’ Fortnight in the Cannes Film Festival, 2011. Now, this film is all set to be released in France.

Vimukthi Jayasundara’s Cannes connection started long back during his days in Le Fresnoy and it grew stronger with his every creation. The release of Indian film Mushrooms in France, commencement of Cannes Film Festival 2013 and his presence in many other prestigious film festivals coincides to make India definitely look forward to Vimukthi Jayasundara’s pipeline films!

 By Sanyogita Zadkar

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Directeur de publication : Délégation Générale de la Fondation Alliance Française en Inde et au Népal

Rédacteur en chef : Laurent Elisio Bordier

Rédacteur/Coordinateur national : Siddharth Bhatt

Rédacteurs, contributeurs : Guillaume, Abhirami, Alexandre, Chintan, Cléa, David, Eleonore, Elie, Kanika, Karine, Nita, Thomas, Malvika, Marie-Joëlle, Meera, Mayuri, Mitushi, Alice, Prutha, Romain, Ritika, Manas, Supriya ...