The Adamant Girl: Humans in the name of god

English Daily #1
The Adamant Girl (P.S. Vinothraj, India, 2023), International Competition, 8-7 18:00 Moscow Cinema Blue Hall, 9-7 12:30 House of Cinema Grand Hall

She gently hums a love song, looking into the distance. He slaps her violently and keeps slapping her on and on for doing so. If there is one thing clear from the two films made by Indian director P.S. Vinothraj, it’s that he has a masterful grasp on the fury brewing underneath the everyday. The screams that the characters of The Adamant Girl, Vinothraj’s second feature, exhale as they lift and spin a rickshaw in the correct direction, may seem exaggerated, but they are the purest manifestation of misdirected rage, ignited at the hard collision of tradition and sincere impulses of the human heart.

Traveling across Indian jungle roads, they are all on their way to a priest, who has to perform a ritual in order to cure Mina. Her illness? She is in love. Yet not to the man she is betrothed to, but to a fellow student she met at university. A frenzied journey to seek aid from an Indian god, and yet the occasional distant shots, where characters are ant-like and their shouts are muffled to inaudibility, suggest some benevolent force looking on from afar with complete dispassion to acts done in its name.

Slowly, but surely, Vinothraj is emerging as a true cinematic poet of these lands, the sheer innovative cinematic talent of which is powerful enough to make even the most unusual and unspeakable of things a part of a deeply tragic, yet strikingly beautiful canvas.

Artur Vardikyan