Previously at the ICA - Films
16 Nov 2012 – 1 Dec 2012
★★★★ Total Film
★★★★ Time Out
★★★★ The Independent
★★★★ "...gentle, well acted, tremendously shot: a movie with enormous charm." The Guardian
★★★★ "A quietly affecting story of class, and modest hope" Metro
"An adorable little film with beautiful photography" The Times
Documentary filmmaker Chris Smith (American Movie, The Yes Men) makes the shift to fiction film with this deeply moving story of class conflict. Based on a story by co-writer Randy Russell, the narrative is transposed from rural Iowa to an iridescent Goa where the film follows the intersecting lives of impoverished hotel workers and the wealthy owner of a swimming pool. Filmed in Hindi, a language that Chris Smith does not speak, the film features untrained actors which adds to the already blurred lines between fiction and reality.
The film follows impoverished hotel workers Venkatesh (Venkatesh Chavan) and Jhangir (Jhangir Badshah) who become obsessed with the swimming pool on an exclusive but unoccupied estate. Eventually its wealthy owner materialises from Mumbai, along with his somewhat alienated and sullen teenage daughter (Ayesha Mohan) for whom 18 year-old Venkatesh develops a crush. Moving at a languid, almost hypnotic pace befitting of the film’s sweltering setting, Chris Smith examines the interplay between these polar social opposites and the opportunities this creates for each of them.
Beautiful to observe and savour for its exotic sheen, Smith’s film is all the more remarkable for being played in the main by unprofessional actors and proved a worthy winner of 2007’s Sundance Special Jury Prize.
There will be a Q&A with Director Chris Smith and journalist Nirpal Dhaliwal after the 6pm screening on Sunday 18 November.
Dir. Chris Smith, USA 2007, 98 mins.