That Cloud Never Left

- INDIA / 2019 / Bengali / Color / DCP / 65 min

Director, Script: Yashaswini Raghunandan
Photography: Paromita Dhar
Editing: Abhro Banerjee
Sound Design: Bigyna Dahal
Source: Yashaswini Raghunandan

A story about a village not very far away—people craft pinwheels, whistles, and toys out of reels of Bollywood films. A mother waits for the rain, doing her monotonous work. Some brothers build scaffolding in anticipation of the eclipse. Children peer in mirrors and dart about, shaking tree branches and looking for a red stone. At long last, the night arrives. Out of a phantasmagoria of village, children and stars, a film emerges.

[Director’s Statement] The film is inspired by a child’s toy—the kyatketi.

The kyatketi is a revolving red circle that creates sounds by pushing against analogue Bollywood film frames, stuck in a bamboo stick and doused in pink. That Cloud Never Left, is a Méliès-like film narrated from the point of view of the toy. The camera itself is assumed to be a toy in the hands of the cinematographer; it rotates, spirals, looks upside down, draws circles and spins away.

Babloo, a toy-maker, often mentions, “this toy rotates in my hand for less than 5 seconds, but the earth that we are standing on rotates at 1675 km/hr. Just think, for every second, you are moving almost half a kilometre through space...which essentially means we are only meant to move, we are only meant to spin . . .” our film takes its genesis from this line. It’s a dizzying cinematic world where the real toymakers are actors who bring alive a cosmic sense of purpose and truth through their everyday labour. The film aims for a skittish mix between the real and the fictional by introducing various odd astro-sculptures into the landscape. These interventions enhance the fiction and pay an ode to cinema, which leaks out frame by frame as they cut up reels and reels of film to make their livelihoods in Murshidabad.

Yashaswini Raghunandan

Currently an artist-in-residence at the Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten, Amsterdam. She works in the field of film and sound. Her works include Site-Mapping (2012, dance film), Man in the Eye (2015, narrative sound album), Videofolktales (2016, video installation), and Project Redtoy: Sun, Moon, Toy, Earth (2018, installation). Other documentaries include In-Transience (2011), Presence (2012) and Distance (2013, Best Short Film at DOK Leipzig), which were made as part of the Behind the Tin Sheets project in collaboration with Ekta Mittal, whose film is showing this year in the International Competition at YIDFF.