News from the Locarno Festival

Sulanga gini aran – The Shadows of a Man

Sulanga gini aran – Vimukthi Jayasundara



There are many versions of a given story. Its oral transmission, a fundament of Vimukthi Jayasundara’s cinema, contributes to multiplying its form and meaning. In the filmmaker’s 2009 film Between Two Worlds, a pair of fishermen jointly composed a tale by adding chapters of their own, one after the other.

The story’s mythical value resonated as it found echoes in what first appeared to us as a single-layered narration, before it took turns and backward jumps that blurred the lines between reality and dream, to a point where even its own protagonist was left flabbergasted. In Mushrooms (2011), fate’s arbitrariness was underlined by the utterly opposite directions that the lives of two brothers had taken after their tragic separation.

Finding oneself on the lucky side of the draw is only one variant of the story. And in any case, our limited human minds may lack the clarity needed to perceive the full scope of possibilities in front of us. Sulanga gini aran (Dark in the White Light) is, again, an exploration of revealing grey areas, with a particular interest for death and the diverse impact of its imminence on our minds.

A young man chooses to understand it better and to do so, takes the way of enlightenment. A doctor, too familiar with death and seemingly unafraid of it, embraces his shadow self but abandons all goodness in the process. A selfish organ trafficker is shortsighted about his own fear of dying. A submissive assistant is crushed by the preoccupation with his own survival. Their paths cross or collide, but one thing is bound to unite them in the end, death being the conclusion to all human stories. Or is it…?

Aurélie Godet
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