Natasha Mendonca’s 2010 experimental film titled ‘Jan Villa’ is much different than nearly any other film we’ve seen this year. For the first time this year, a director came to class to show their film, and it was a great experience. Many times this year, when trying to decipher these shorts, I found myself grasping at straws. Having Mendonca in class to answer questions and explain her intent was enlightening; a chance like that doesn’t come around often.
One of the major themes Mendonca spoke of was the idea that video and sound work together, and how she likes to put a focus on this. Jan Villa shows this, most definitely, in a lot of different ways. The sounds in the film, on a number of occasions, don’t exactly match the situations, yet still fit. I thought this had a pretty cool effect on the film as a whole, and Mendonca mentioned often pairing outdoor noises with indoor scenes, and vice versa.
The film itself is a representation of the city of Bombay, with themes of home and family, neglect and decay in the wake of floods in 2005. We learned this before seeing the film, and I was curious how this would be portrayed in an experimental film. Again, we see the use of visuals to make a point, with Mendonca using color shots to represent the present, and black and white to represent the ’emotional past.’
The film has no chronological order, scenes aren’t often relative to each other, and the sounds are often unrelated to the scenes. It is because of this that I was so impressed with the film. Despite all these qualities, Jan Villa still depicts the city of Bombay, just in a way that one would not expect from a film.