Vimukthi Jayasundara

Film director Vimukthi Jayasundara's films are entrenched in ideologies that lurk in the concept of idealistic beings and abstract forms of creatures toeing the line between spirituality, fantasy and the supernatural. The filmmaker, critic and visual artist whose journey began in the arts in search of answers to human experience, persistently saw beyond the surface thereby carving a space of non-conformity and parallel realities for the audience to experience. His works have garnered much acclaim in the local and international film scene, having been nominated for several awards at many film festivals including the Dubai International Film Festival in 2009 and again in 2012, the Locarno International Film Festival in 2015 and is recognized as the only Sri Lankan to have won the Camera d'Or Award at the Cannes International Film Festival in 2005. This edition of ARTRA Magazine showcases a curation of ten film stills, carefully selected from a plethora of his films ranging from 'Vide pour l'amour' (2003) to 'Sulanga Apa Ragena Yavi' (2019) amounting to 13 films in total, that are most prolific of the filmmaker's strongest symbolism distinctly steeped in the surrealistic and that of the supernatural.

“The fundamental difference between cinematography and photography, of which the latter has been selected for ARTRA Magazine Apr/May E59 on my cinematic stance, is truly a fascinating process. In this case, the reader, who is also the viewer, decides how to interpret the still photograph. However, for a moving image, the filmmaker provides the direction, he provides the performance of the event and what comes next” Vimukthi Jayasundara explained in awe of the creative process behind the curation of the film stills on ARTRA. It is through the interpretations and the diverse perspectives of the observer's mind that one scene is distinct from its counterpart while being indicative of the universalities that the artist questions. The significance of the featured film stills spread across pages 28 to 37 are prolific in alluding to glimpses of the surrealistic and that of the supernatural, existing as creative speculations on their own.

The curated collection reflects the director's intrinsic stance of the spiritual and paranormal, questioning truths posing as alternate realities that pertain to a surrealistic narrative. Each photograph is unlike its typical narratology but reflects powerfully on transcendence, be it in the midst of war and isolation portrayed on the featured film still on page 31 or in the silhouette of an anti-hero as depicted on the featured film still on page 28.

In a world where the superficial truths subsist and trivial concerns lie and where materialism is glorified, the selected photographs seek to move beyond the natural and post-mortem, where the spirits linger and the fidelities are unveiled. The culmination of these discoveries and rediscoveries of the self within the self and the relationship with higher are decoded, dissected and analysed. The artist's persistence to find these answers lay among the landscapes of the featured symbolic stills on page 29 and page 34, as they facilitate and provoke the mind to go deep within to find meaning.

The recurring question seeped into the monotonous colours and dark hues within each featured film still is awake in response, connected in the scope of a singular universe that conceals alternate dimensions. Each reality parallel in time or space as seen on the featured film still on page 33 is symbolic to split timelines while the featured film still on page 36 shows the interconnectedness and the disconnect at the same time in the same single realm. These film stills are of surreal nature, evoking questions of existence indicative of Vimukthi's insistence to transcend beyond what is instantaneously visible or tangible. 

Discovering parallel realities and unearthing idealistic truths, Vimukthi Jayasundara's fervency for the undiscovered and alternate perspectives of realities presents an acute sense of authenticity through fictionalized narratives and themes. The selected photographs of cinematic stills featured on this edition of ARTRA Magazine profoundly explore realities across the spectrum of what is, and what could be, within a frame. The director's quench to seek the purpose of life is evident in every selected film still through which he identifies with the viewer whose subconscious reflects the overlooked candour, with an understanding to parallel dimensions and endeavouring alternate realities. 


21st April, 2021 Visual Art | Paintings