Ache In My Name


Reviewed by: Jennie Kermode

Ache In My Name
"Vivek creates a personal but outward looking picture of shifting power, raising questions about ownership of the self."

In ancient cultures, the practice of naming is an act of power. To know the true name of a thing is to fully understand it. Some of the attachment that we have to our own names may stem from this same instinct, this sense that a collection of sounds can reflect and define us. Names can also tell us something about our ethnicity and cultural background. So what does it mean to have one's name taken and reshaped by others?

In this potent short, filmmaker Vivek Shraya talks about having parents who named their children after gods so that each act of calling to them was also an act of calling out to the god, celebrating and strengthening them. In moving to a new country, however, the family then found themselves losing control of those precious syllables. Names were turned into the most similar sounding western ones. Aspects of expressed identity have been lost in the process, even to the point where new imaginary histories are attached to the surviving remnant. Moe. That's from Mohammad, right?

Copy picture

Mixing still photographs with words spelled out on the screen, letters tumbling over one another in a constant process of rearrangement, Vivek creates a personal but outward looking picture of shifting power, raising questions about ownership of the self. It's a microcosm of cultural domination, one way of thinking consuming others through reinterpretation, selling the new versions back to them. Which, then, is the correct pronunciation of the filmmaker's name? Can it be reclaimed as an act of resistance, or is it doomed to being swallowed by the tide? Can an individual effectively resist misinterpretation wrought en masse?

Vivek's film keeps it simple. It raises many interesting question, but follows a rhythm that suggests unidirectional movement, a limited act of speech.

Reviewed on: 21 Mar 2015
Share this with others on...
Musings on the pronunciation of personal names.

Director: Vivek Shraya

Year: 2011

Runtime: 3 minutes

Country: Canada


Glitch 2015

Search database: