AVFF Day 6: January 27, 2024

We open with the film “Kolam”, which is resounding, except it has little to no sound. It is a visual escapade. From the opening shot, it is sharply searing and visually-appealing, in slow-motion, in fast-forward and in close-ups. Gives one a totally alternative perspective on the people, artifacts and places of Auroville. It also captures an essence that usual, more commonplace cinematography cannot encapsulate.

The look of curiosity in a child’s eyes, the warmth in a baby caressing a puppy, workers dyeing cloth blue, are given a hyperaware sentience, even, in this astounding film. And so, it is with all the beloved places we know in Auroville from Matrimandir to Savitri Bhavan and so forth.

In the filmmakers’ discussion, we had some rousing conversations. The first movie to come up was “The Cloud and the Man”. The producer and director unraveled the film for us, it’s about a middle-aged lonely man who falls in love with a cloud. He wants to have his own life in a very regulated life,. Sounds familiar? Well, yes, the best of us have had our backs-to-the-wall, in a society that constantly wants to define us, to label us, to make us what it wants to make of us, call it persona/personality—I don’t care. That much of our lives is spent in the futility of trying to find our own Selves, while society wants to farm us in narrow little plantations; economical, socio-cultural, even demographic. That we have to find love to escape the labeling, defining, whether the love be of a cloud, or nature itself. To fully give in and up oneself to something outside of ourselves. To be as the man, a total misfit. For some of us, the relationships of the narrow and confined, juss ain’t good ‘nuff.

What then constitutes an identity? I think, for any question of identity there must be not only personhood, but subjectivity and agency…all of which can be aroused through loving. We are all looking for our own cloud. I mean to love is to resuscitate, to invigorate, to expand, to burgeon. Dude, I want my cloud!

By Gautam Emani