Three people- A computer teacher, his black magician grandfather and a cyber-creature – a series of pre-destined rendezvous, both online and offline, over the shreds of mnemonic time and space, at the cleavages of various parlors of sub culture – finally the narrative images of the computer screen are drained off from the colour and texture, the images collapse down to mere pulsating pixel, potentially to start another cycle of the story once again.
Vipin Vijay, hails from a remote village named Ramallur in Calicut district, Kerala state, India. He is a post graduate in filmmaking Satyajit Ray Film and Television Institute, SRFTI, Calcutta. In 2003, he received the Charles Wales Arts Award for research at the British Film Institute (BFI), London and the India Office Records, London.
He received support from IDFA, Amsterdam, Hubert Bals Film Fund, Rotterdam, Goteborg Film Fund, Sweden, and the Global Film Initiative for his works. His films have won Short Tiger Award-IFF Rotterdam, National Jury Award, National Film Awards, India, Golden Pearl-HIFF, International Jury prize, Kodak Award, Kerala State Film & TV Award, IDPA Award, and the John Abraham National Awards (2005 and 2006).
His films have widely been shown in festivals at Rotterdam, Karlovyvary, Oberhausen, Montreal, Japan, Karachi, Tehran, Chicago, Seattle, Berkley, Mexico, Croatia, Milan, and the Indian Panorama. Two of his films have been acquired for permanent archive at the U.S. Library of Congress.
He is the recipient of the prestigious Sanskriti award for cultural achievement in filmmaking. Vipin’s preoccupation is with the epic dimension and sensibilities, exploring intricate and enigmatic narratives of thought almost like a self-imposed ritual. His works have never been fashionable and maintains a private life.
What better country to make a film about the internet age than India, the largest IT labor exporting country? This serene, visual contemplation on the nature of the virtual world and finding one's identity in it starts with an ironic quote: "I had a dream about reality. It was such a relief to wake up." by a Polish aphorist Stanislaw J. Lec, which sets the tone of The Image Threads.
An IT professor named Hari, 'pimping (in his own words)' the information technology laborers to the US and Europe, narrates most of the film in philosophical monologue. He sometimes engages in conversations online with a virtual persona who might be either a sultry female model or a man in a mini-skirt or both. Other times he recalls his black magic priest grandfather.
At one point, parallels are drawn between internet virus and the Plague by a girl seductively treading around him, singing the nursery rhyme, Ring Around the Rosie. But the film's languid pace and beauty betrays the ominous subject. Shot in exotic Kerala locale, the film is nothing short of stunning- water stained walls, rusty water pipes, vegetation infused houses, ancient temples, lush jungles, dark caves, bearded yogis, beautiful girls in colorful costumes, sleek gizmos, wires, lights and wikipedia, all vying for your attention. Every frame is work of art. Director Vipin Vijay and his cinematographer Shehnard Jalal often distinguish, then blur the boundaries between the past and present, technology and nature, reality and fantasy, tangible and intangible.
Devoid of any visible narrative, The Image Thread is unlike any film I've ever seen. It is more like a visual essay than a film. To enjoy it, you have to give in to its luscious visuals to wash over you. Calming and hypnotic, it's literally the best films to meditate on.