Former SOAS tutor Matti Pohjonen and co-director Soum Paul, have just finished developing a film set in one of India’s most enigmatic cities.
In summer of 2012, Anjan arrives in Varanasi. Then, he mysteriously disappears. Left behind is his research material, and fragments of an ominous science-fiction story about a strange character, K, whose ancestors visited the city from another dimension thousands years ago.
As we find more about Anjan, the mystery only deepens. Where is Anjan? And what happens to him as he desperately tries to find answers to questions that torment him from this spiritual city
White Matter is visually and conceptually surreal and soulful. As a portrait of a city, you are presented with a place that is spiritually infinite yet urban and condensed. Taking Varanasi out of the context of time ironically made the film more realistic and direct. It is as if this city is set between life and death, this life and the next; the vacuum of time that’s created in the future-set explanation of eternities ago makes us, as audience, more in touch with this surreal space. The time lapse in both the visual technique and the narrative are well set.
As a project, it could be defined more as an experimental piece, albeit an excellent one, – between art and anthropology – which would allow it fit in many exhibiting contexts: galleries, festivals. It’s like a mystery, a documentary, an ethnography, a visual essay, a poetic ode to a place…