Dir/Wri: Pan Nalin | Cast: Bhavin Rabari, Richa Meena, Dipen Raval, Rahul Koli | India, Drama 110′
The Last Film Show is one of the most buzz worthy titles at this year’s TriBeCa film festival. Essentially India’s answer to Giuseppe Tournatore’s 1988 cult classic Cinema Paradiso it’s a lush nostalgic crowdpleaser beautifully written and directed by Pan Nalin whose Angry Indian Goddesses garnered acclaim as India’s first female buddy movie back in 2015.
A mischievous nine-year-old boy called Samay is the film’s pre-teen hero, a cross between between Toto’s child and teenager – as he never gets any older in this version – he’s altogether more sullen too without the endearing charm of Toto, but cheekily played by the tousled-haired Richa Meena who is savagely beaten by his father when he plays truant after discovering his secret new hobby.
In early scenes we see Samay (Rabari) and his mates hitching a ride on a train trundling through the remote Gujarat village where he lives with his parents and younger sister, finding their way to a rundown cinema where the boy bribes the hungry projectionist (Dipen Raval channelling a much leaner Philippe Noiret) with the lunchbox prepared for him by his mother.
Samay slips into a daily routine captivated by his newfound love for cinema, offering Bapuji his lunch box in exchange for the best seat in the house – the projection booth. And when the cinema goes digital from 35mm, the rites of passage narrative sees Samay and his mates setting up their own projection suite, as their parental ties finally loosen.
Pan Nalin pays tribute to the cinema of yesterday with this vibrantly cinematic homage to the magic of film, its ability to unite and uplift seen through the eyes of a naughty young boy. MT
Tribeca Film Festival 2021 | 10 JUNE, 2021 WORLD PREMIERE