IN-NO-SENCE : Of Sharp Wounds and Memories

Esha Aphale | October 25, 2023 | Art

Despite its seemingly self-explanatory title, In No Sence (when read out loud, sounds like, “it makes no sense”) a documentary by Gia Singh Arora, embarks on a profound exploration of innocence, shedding light on the intricate layers that comprise this delicate state of being. The narrative skillfully unravels how certain, often unforeseen, events can cruelly and abruptly dismantle the protective cocoon of innocence that enshrouds individuals. It becomes a poignant journey, delving deep into the complexities of how innocence is not just lost, but can be forcefully torn asunder, leaving the characters and, by extension, the audience, to grapple with the profound and often irreversible transformations that follow such disheartening reckonings.

This short tells the story of Lilya and how her mother’s yoga instructor took advantage of her at a young age. In situations like this, it’s hard to believe what’s happening. The documentary features a moment in which Lilya reflects on her past, unveiling the depths of her experiences. Amidst her recollection, a noticeable absence of specific chronological details emerges as she grapples with the elusive nature of when and at what age these transformative events occurred. Her memories are like pieces of a blurry puzzle, making her early years feel uncertain. This scene highlights how complex memory can be and how deeply she feels about her past.

The narration skillfully employs two distinct styles of storytelling, weaving together a disorienting yet dreamlike sequence of past events and Lilya’s poignant recollection during the rehearsal of the film. Throughout the entirety of this captivating fifteen-minute cinematic journey, I found myself on edge, immersed in the evocative narrative. The short proves to be visually provocative too, characterized by its striking contrasts and subdued palette, atmospheric lighting, and meticulously choreographed dance scenes that conveyed the haunting impact of the traumatic incident.

Intermittently, In No Sense shifts its focus to a kind of “behind the scenes” perspective, affording viewers a glimpse into the profound effects that the incident had wrought upon Lilya. It became evident that she was employing this narration as a cathartic meditation, a process of letting go and healing, as the scars of the past continued to exert their influence on her life. This multi-layered approach to storytelling artfully immerses the audience in the complex interplay between memory, trauma, and the therapeutic power of art.

The emotions exchanged in this story deeply affected me, reflecting the complex feelings Lilya portrayed throughout the film. As the short developed, there was a moment when the line between a typical film and a heartfelt, personal conversation seemed to disappear. During this transformative moment, it felt like the film shifted from its usual role to become a deeply intimate exchange, much like a conversation between close friends who confide their innermost fears and experiences in each other. This blending of roles drew me closer to the narration, creating a strong connection that allowed me to deeply engage in their emotional journeys.

In one particular moment of the documentary, Lilya engages in a thought-provoking dialogue about the nuances of gentleness and the complex interplay of pleasure. As children, we are taught about “bad touch”, and we aren’t taught about biology and pleasure since we’re too young to understand. But when adults take advantage of unassuming children, there is a crosswire of information we know, and what they are feeling. In No Sence aptly captures the essence of that experience, delving into the facets of human emotions and reactions.

In No Sence serves as a platform for delving into the intricate realm of human emotions and the challenging process of reconciling with the profound revelations and sentiments that often arise from deeply unsettling experiences. In many ways, art often becomes a powerful vehicle for individuals, as seen for Lilya, to confront their own traumas and engage in the process of letting go and moving forward. Through storytelling, whether in the form of cinema, literature, or visual art, we discover a medium to process the complexities of our own experiences. This short, in particular, embodies the transformative power of art.

Within the narrative, as Lilya grapples with her past and confronts the haunting memories, In No Sence resonates with the broader theme of healing and renewal. It underscores the fact that coming to terms with one’s past, especially when it involves distressing incidents, is an arduous journey that demands introspection and profound understanding. Over the course of the documentary, we witness how these incidents not only shape the characters but also affect their lives in the long run; the lasting impact of our experiences, the way they mold our perceptions, our relationships, and the choices we make as we move forward. In this sense, the documentary reminds us of the resilience of the human spirit, as it portrays Lilya’s efforts to heal and grow beyond the scars of their past. It ultimately encourages us to embark on our own reflective journeys, navigating the web of emotions that come with the territory of life’s challenging experiences and emerging stronger and wiser on the other side. In a way this short emphasises on how people are a cumulative of their experiences, helmed by their childhood, and the process of beginning to understand someone is but a mere first step on a long, connective journey. 

This short is not yet available for public viewing, but keep an eye out for when it is released!

Words by Esha Aphale.
Image Courtesy Gia Singh Arora.

One thought on “IN-NO-SENCE : Of Sharp Wounds and Memories

  1. Profound and thought provoking.
    But it is sexist as all other similar stories in the media everywhere. Need a different perspective where such issues are handled without gender bias.

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