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  • Colin Fraser


THREE STARS Young Samay dreams of becoming a movie director. His father has other ideas.


Starring Bhavin Rabari, Richa Meena

Indian helmer Pan Nalin’s ode to the enduring power of movies centres on the young son of a village tea seller who dreams of becoming a film director. It's vaguely autobiographical and shot with style, wit and more than a touch of whimsy, landing like a cross between SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE and Guiseppe Tornatore’s CINEMA PARADISO.

Samay is a live wire who, when not hawking his father’s chai, or skipping school, or annoying his parents, or telling long stories to his friends, can be found being thrown out of the local cinema. Poor kids like him can’t afford tickets and so he strikes a deal with the projectionist; in exchange for his school lunch (home-made and delicious) the boy is allowed to hang out and, over time, learn how movies work.

When the cinema unexpectedly closes, Samay decides to build a projector of his own and show a film he and is mates have edited from stolen footage. However their entrepreneurial spirit falls foul of authority which leads to a finale of bitter irony.

There’s an endearing sense of chaos about Nalin’s directorial style. Amid moments of poignant beauty there are narrative threads left hanging while some scenes are overcooked and others feel like they belong to another film altogether. Yet for all the erratic goings-on (or perhaps because of), THE LAST FILM has a compelling presence anchored by a quite remarkable central performance from young Bhavin Rabari as Samay.

Packed with sub-continental colour and vibrancy, and wearing a big heart on its ample sleeve, here is a film that celebrates the power of storytelling, of movies and youthful spirit with compassion and humour. As mentioned at the start, it’s a charmer.



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