Pebbles. 2021. India. Directed by P.S. Vinothraj. In Tamil; English subtitles. 74 min.
The scorching terrain of rural Tamil Nadu provides the unforgiving backdrop for this story of domestic abuse, inspired by an actual event experienced by first-time director P. S. Vinothraj’s sister. A constantly enraged and often drunk man takes his young son across barren land to retrieve his wife, who has left after enduring bouts of violence. In long, uninterrupted takes, the camera tracks the characters on their walks, revealing a life of constant hardship and poverty. The young nonprofessional actor Chellapandi delivers a powerful, courageous performance by channeling his own experiences. Pebbles premiered at the Rotterdam film festival, where it won the top prize, the Tiger Award.