Starting in the 1970s, filmmaker and artist Velu Viswanadhan began a series of five films about the elements that form the material basis of the universe according to the ancient Vedas. This final part of this pentalogy, Ether, takes as its subject the invisible essence of all matter. Setting out without a preconceived plan, structure or narrative, Viswanadhan’s film takes the form of a visual voyage through India, with the camera focused on the many aspects of life, both material and immaterial. Shot on 16mm, the film uses long tracking shots through city streets and rural landscapes and intercuts facial close-ups with scenes of manual labor and ritual performances.
16mm print from the collection of MNAM-CCI, Centre Georges Pompidou. The work belongs to the National Collections.
Ritika Kaushik is a film historian and video essayist with a focus on the study of documentary cinema and South Asian cinema. She works as a Postdoctoral Researcher in the "Configurations of Film" Research Training Group at Goethe University, Frankfurt.