Slumdog Millionaire (2008)
This was a film with particular challenges for the projectionist. Having coincidentally asked the feedback lady to seek out comments on the volume, it turned out that the dynamic range within this film caused frequent adjustments to be required. A small audience of 39 was attributed mainly to the appalling weather but the start if the Strictly Come Dancing season clashing was certainly not a help. Also, many people had seen this film - not, in my opinion, a strong reason for eking more out of it with a second screening followed by a hearty discussion. The short film Little Terrorist (2004) by Ashvin Kumar proved universally popular. Eugene.
The tour of India through Slumdog Millionaire's scenes covers the extremes. We visited the Taj Mahal, Mumbai, the railways (Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus train station), we were on trains, on top of trains, laundering at the rivers, in slums, a camp for child beggars, atop new build high rises, mansions, and a call centre representing the growing IT sector. These places were examples of Extremes and Contrasts, the theme our discussion group narrowed in on quite quickly. From literally living on a dump to becoming a Millionaire, this is a fairy tale. The story (even though proven possible with a true-to-life Slumdog Millionaire) provides escapism, another Rags-to-Riches adventure which is exciting, harrowing, and full of archetypical characters. Good versus Evil. It's a story we watch over and over to root for the good in us. Similarly, the truer to life Oscar nominated short film The Little Terrorist, located at the Indo-Pak security border, shows us a 10 year old Muslim boy finding himself in trouble. He is helped by a Hindi school master when the boy crosses the fence to retrieve his cricket ball. The realism of the short film won the minds of the members of our discussion group. Karen.
This film was a huge disappointment to me, as although it was inspired by the great novel "Q & A" by the Indian writer Vikas Swarup, the story was only extremely loosely connected to the book. On the other hand the film more closely relates to the real life "Slumdog" who did indeed win the top prize in the quiz show, finding the correct answers by means of his life experiences; so maybe my expectations were misplaced. Following the age old quest to exchange poverty for riches propelled the audience along a violent and difficult road which was alleviated from time to time by humour. The main character was very empathetic, remaining loyal to and protective of the girl he loved. He was always truthful which perversely made everyone around him suspect him of cheating in the quiz show as they judged him by their own standards.
The short film shown beforehand, "The Little Terrorist", I found far more sympathetic and emotive. I was on the edge of my seat throughout.
There were seven of us in the discussion group and only two of us were less than enthusiastic about the main feature. One person had seen it for the third time last night and the others would all welcome a second viewing. We had all enjoyed the short film.