.Film Review - SAREE : WEAVING CHILDHOOD FANTASIES
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Ramya and Krishna
 

SUMA JOSSON ( Director )

 
Priyanka Josson


There is among all your memories one
Which has now been lost beyond recall
You will not be seen going down to that fountain
Neither by white sun nor by yellow moon.


Limits, Jorge Luis Borges
Suma Josson's new film 'Saree' is about the twilight world of childhood. It is about two children Gita (Remya) and Radha (Krishna) stranded in the no man's land between the two closed worlds that dominate contemporary childhood - the school and the home.This in-between land is one of myriad dreams, fears, and fantasies all yearning to take the shape of stories - a free, fluid space where children can summon whichever spirit they like; one expansive enough for their dreams to blossom - sometimes eerie, sometimes inviting. The two young friends are on their way back from the school, and they recount their dreams, tales and angst in this subliminal space available only to childhood.

What strikes one immediately about 'Saree' is its warmth; and its restless groping for images, incidents, moods, shades, lights and characters that would vibe with the subterranean life- world of childhood. As they walk home, we find them traversing varied landscapes - tranquil and green, uncanny and brick red. There are lakes, hills, valleys, rivers, beaches and winding country paths. Strange characters appear that only a child's mind can conjure: the scary bogeyman, the man from the sea who speaks a sign language from another world, the magician, the fisherman, the boat woman etc. The film itself begins with the two friends reading their stories in the class, which are alleged as unrealistic or beyond their age by the teacher (in fact their stories are co-authored by the grandfather). At the school their stories fail to convey, and at home what awaits them is death. And their fantasy world lies between negation and fact, creativity and death.

Free from the shackles of linear narrative and its cause-effect logic, 'Saree' is a brave attempt to dream, occasionally marred by words (too literary at times) and the intrusion of some all-too-predictable characters (Muthukad as magician and Nedumudi as the grandfather). Saree is also a journey from fantasy to reality. The saree they steal from one mother turn into a shroud for another. And the girl realizes that the mysterious man who haunts her is all too human, someone who joins them in their grief over mother's death. It is a film that tries to capture the evanescence of childhood and its close encounters with the world and its haunting experiences - those inexplicable fears, mysterious joys, stolen thrills - all in a twilight world where everything is possible and anything can happen.

C S Venkiteswaran

venkitesh@eth.net

Credits
Actors: Remya, Krishna, Nedumudi Venu, Sreelatha, Priyanka, Kaladharan, Madhu Sankaramangalam, Sivan, V C Harris, Rema Devi
Script/Direction: Suma Josson
Camera: M J Radhakrishnan, K G Jayan
Editor: Bina
Sound: Krishnanunni
Music: Chandran Veyattumal
Art: Madhusudhanan

Suma Josson
, was born in Kerala and graduated in English Lit. from the College of St.Teresa, Minnesota, USA. She began her career as a journalist and switched over to the visual media. She has made a number of documentary films. Her 'Bombay's Blood Yatra' about the communal riots in Bombay won wide acclaim in the country and abroad. Her other documentaries include '47 Seconds & After: Latur, Osmanabad', 'Akbar Padamsee & the Last Image' , 'Waste' (on Gerd Rohling, a German installation artist and ragpicker) and 'One More Day to Live' (on V P Singh, as a painter)

She is also a well known poet and fiction writer and has published in various indian and international magazines. She has published three books 'Poems and Plays', 'A Harvest of Light' (a collection of plays), and 'Circumferences' (a novel, Penguin).

Her debut film was 'Janmadhinam' which won three state awards, and was screened at various international film festvals including the 1999 Berlin Festival. She was one of the five women filmmakers commissioned to make a documentary 'Trading Images' on the subject 'women's space' in a German international coproduction. 'Saree' is her second feature film.

 
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