Call me old school, but a film that is rich in historical elements often attracts my viewing senses. The atmosphere of understanding nostalgic viewpoints and classic interventions never gets old. In Today Me, Tomorrow You (Aiz Maka Falea Tuka), director Sreejith Karnaver comes up with a tale that spins around these fascinating elements vehemently. Mind you, this is actually a horror film.
The film covers the tale from two standpoints – the Missing and the Finder. Ravio (The Missing) was a lone ranger who lived in his own world of dreams. He worked in a bread factory and delivered the bread by hand to homes around the town of Carona. An ardent introvert at most, Ravio never shared his thoughts with anyone around him. A series of backslashes from the community has added more fuel to Ravio’s loneliness. We witness mockery from a distance whenever Ravio is present within the community. In fact, from personal remarks to negative judgments, Ravio has been enduring these indirect comments continuously. His biddable manner made him weak among the rest, which led him to face oppression.
Meanwhile, there seems to be an empty space within Ravio, which doesn’t answer much to connect the dots of Ravio’s true characteristics. Perhaps it is Ravio’s own mind map of finding solace? Or is it Ravio’s self-debate to acquire his sense of belonging to this world? Does betting really help Ravio fulfill the objective of attaining happiness? What’s certain is that Ravio was not happy with how his life had shaped him. Besides, the latest buzz circulating around town is that Ravio has gone missing and can’t be traced.
The Finder covers the present state (6 months later) of Carona that has changed since Ravio went missing. The Carona town is now a sleepy state with fewer occupants due to major setbacks involving disappearances and killings. The finder, an amateur archeologist, goes on a mission to find Ravio to solve the mystery. A minor inclusion of addressing the hard work of amateurs in the working field tends to appreciate emerging talents specifically. The ensemble consisting of actors and non-actors has embodied the culture of the village, wholly based on pure talent and determination. The performance of Ravio by Ravio Rafus Fernandes specifically deserves a round of applause.
The engaging feature of Today Me, Tomorrow You is mostly rooted in the impressive technical aspects. The usage of impeccable sound design by Jayadevan Chakkadath and serene cinematography by Tenzing Dakpa hold the torch this time. The village of Carona is potent with its laid-back environment that is almost therapeutic to witness. The art of baking and the architecture of the houses hold the audience to a secluded environment that is rich in antiquity. The usage of zoom lenses to portray an ongoing activity from afar tackles the engagement of audiences, similar to the works of director Hong Sang-Soo.
What’s mystifying is how the sound design gives more insights into the value and comprehension of the creativity of the film. It is bizarre to be drawn into the sounds of rainfall and insects in almost all segments despite it being a common aspect in most films. Yet, the combination approach of binding the sound design with far-fetched BGM answers the puzzling issue. Composers Lionel Dentan and Chairian Dalal use dozens of peculiar musical notes that represent a unique voice to evoke the viewers. This technique aligns with director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s 2006 film ‘Babel.’
A supernatural element joins the connection between the Missing and the Finder, which is an integral part of the film. The strong influence of Pagan culture, which is evident in the town of Corona, structures a form of horror. From precise rituals to medieval idols, the invasion of the entity is layered delicately through sinister occurrences and possessions. However, the method of showcasing horror isn’t gory or violent. The screenplay utilizes facial expressions as a method to convey the intrusive fear, which I feel is the most realistic depiction.
As the journey progresses to find the missing pieces of the mystery, a series of questions emerge. Does acquiring greater power really solve oppressive judgments in a community? Do prophecies and bad omens indicate the progression of a supernatural force or a warning sign to protect one’s self? What differentiates an atypical individual in a community that consists of various characters and upbringings? Is the social system biased towards the intellectual aspect of an individual more than the behavior? The answers can be a lot closer than you think.
The reluctance of the director to include modernization into the film’s framework is an expression of his desire to ensure the perpetuity of Carona’s cultural traditions. The technique of concentrating on aesthetics has shed light on a distinctive form of animism and metaphysical beliefs as well. This film, which won the Prasad Lab DI Award & Moviebuff Appreciation Award at Film Bazaar 2020, is a triumph in all aspects of artistic features. After Paltadacho Munis by Laxmikant Shetgaonkar and Kaajro by Nitin Bhaskar, this film has the potential to enter the ranks of successful Konkani films.
Ravio may represent any of us who want a major change in life to surpass our discontent. A mission may require a change or an enhancement so that it is viewed favorably by others. Perhaps the director wants to inform the world that judging an individual based on a rigid perception is a venomous act. Ravio could have stayed away from the grips of the entity if desperation was not present in his system. Maybe it is not a horror film but a humanity-driven film on social morality. Nevertheless, Today Me, Tomorrow You is a sensual and striving film that blurs the lines between cinematic art and reality.
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Today Me, Tomorrow You (Aiz Maka Falea Tuka) is having its Premiere at the JIO MAMI Mumbai Film Festival 2023.