“I want to study light. Because light becomes stories. Stories become films.”
India’s entry at this year’s Academy Award for Best International Film, Chhello Show, or Last Film Show, is one of my favorite films of the year—and it will only be in theaters for a few more days at Apple Cinemas Cambridge. See it on the big screen before you miss your chance!
Samay (Bhavin Rabari), a young boy from a religiously devout but poor Brahmin family in Chalala, Gujara hasn’t seen a movie since he was old enough to talk. His father, Bapuji (Dipen Raval), thinks the movie business is too slimy for Brahmins like them—his way of maintaining caste honor as a struggling tea salesperson. When a religious movie shows in a nearby town’s single-screen theater, the family makes an exception—an exception that changes Samay’s life. He stands awestruck at the Galaxy Cinema Movies as if he stood before the entire Milky Way. The dust particles floating in the light of the projector look sublime seen through the eyes of the stupefied Samay. Movies, or more accurately, the wonder behind how light can be used to tell stories, become the sole concern to this nine-year old.
Unfortunately, his oddly loving though strict father is set in his anti-cinema stance. Samay sneaks back into the crummy Galaxy only to get thrown out by the manager. As he pouts outside, a shirtless and hungry man notices how appetizing the boy’s food looks; in no mood to eat, Samay gives him his lunch and tells him about his failed attempt to see the day’s picture. The man, it turns out, is the projectionist (Bhavesh Shrimali as Fazal). The two of them work out an agreement that involves Samay bringing his mom’s food, whom he swears is the best cook in the world, and Fazal will let him tag along from the projector booth.
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