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(Credit: Far Out / Press)

Film

Short of the Week: An experimental road movie by Vipin Vijay

'Video Game' - Vipin Vijay
3.5

Although Indian cinema is still primarily defined by its mega-industries which regularly produce big-budget spectacles, there are many artists in the country whose works escape mainstream categorisations. Vipin Vijay is one such director who has created several experimental projects outside the industry’s rigid margins.

A graduate of the prestigious Satyajit Ray Film and Television Institute, Vijay has received several national and global accolades. In most of his projects, he incorporates hybrid frameworks borrowed from the documentary genre, but the primary mode of expression is thoroughly experimental.

For this edition of Short of the Week, we have selected Vijay’s short film Video Game, which is a continuation of the questions raised by Ritwik Ghatak in his 1958 work Ajantrik. In order to find out more about the locations present in the unused footage of a 1999 film, Vijay embarks on a metaphorical journey in a black Ambassador.

From Grand Theft Auto: Vice City to David Cronenberg’s Crash, Video Game examines our fractured post-modern realities by probing the manifestation of historical identities and technology in the public imagination. Constantly in discourse with the conventions of filmmaking, Vijay’s vision is hauntingly penetrative.

In an interview, the director commented on the Indian cinematic traditions: “I think we have never consciously thought where we belong, but we have this unique quality, as part of an existing tradition, of looking at ourselves from the outside. It is not something supernatural but rather something deeply ingrained in the self. It is reflected in our cinema too.”

“There have been great filmmakers in India who have worked on the theme of the meaninglessness of ‘progress’ and ‘civilisation’,” he added. “Their works have stood the test of time… I find it as a reflected image amidst the numerous mirrors of world cinema. For a lot of cineastes around the world, it is still an indefinable vision.”

Watch the film below.