Winner of the Writers Guild of Canada English Script Prize at the Festival du Nouveau Cinema Montreal (Montreal Festival of New Cinema).
Shashin is a young second generation immigrant struggling to find his identity following the loss of his parents. We follow his thoughts about his chosen path, memories of his family, and dreams of Hindu mythology. As he goes through boxes Shashin begins to find meaning in the seemingly insignificant odds and ends that fill the cold house that once was his home. Taking us backward and forward in time to follow his memories, Useless Things is a dreamily crafted journey of forgiveness, enlightenment, and self-discovery.
This is the slightly shorter internet / television version.
Useless Things, my first professional short fiction, follows themes I began with my feature documentary, My Cultural Divide (2006).
You could say I am seeking a better sense of place, of where I am as a Canadian and where my family finds its roots. When does our family’s expectations and history fade and become fused with us? What part of their culture do we take when they are gone and all we’ve known is the new world?
Useless Things is not an autobiography. The character Shashin is not me, although physically I inhabit his space. I think in some ways the Hindu subtext is more real, the larger than life gods and demons that I identified with in some way and wrote about.
Throughout the film there are visual references to Rahu, the serpent demon attempting to swallow Soma (the moon), the elixir of eternal life. Shashin finds himself in shadow, as the moon does during the eclipse, and is always trying to move toward the light of both his mother (Savita – or Surya) or his girlfriend Agnis (Agni).
To enrich the film beyond the surface story, my team and I attempted to use these and other metaphors throughout all of our planning of lighting, art design, and shot composition.
Now that I look back after having recently completed my second short film Mr. Crab (2011), I am very proud of the work we did here. Our goal was to create something intimate, dreamlike, and touching, and I think we succeeded.
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