27 September 2023

Last Film Show

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Reviewed by Rama Gaind.

Film: Last Film Show
Language: Gujarati
Director: Pan Nalin, Rialto Distribution

“Stories become light, light becomes films, and films become dreams.” India’s Oscar submission is a vibrant ode to cinema. Last Film Show (Chhello Show) was one of four Indian films nominated for the Academy Awards in 2023.

The feature from writer/director Pan Nalin (Slightly Sane, Valley of Flowers, Samsara) revolves around a young boy in rural India who discovers the joys of the movie theatre just as digital projection changes the game.

Nalin’s semi-autobiographical drama is set in the remote Indian countryside of 2010, and revolves around the wonder movies create for all those who experience their magic.

When the magic of movies conquers nine-year-old Samay’s heart, he moves heaven and earth in pursuit of his 35mm dreams unaware of heartbreaking times that are around the corner.

After watching a movie at the Indian Galaxy Cinema, the free-spirited youngster’s life turns upside down after he utterly falls in love with films. He steals money from his father’s struggling small tea shop, and skips school to watch movies.

It’s not long before Samay’s father discovers his son’s “immoral” obsession with cinema and physically punishes him and warns him to stay away from the “filthy” world of films. It’s too late for warnings.

Continuing to pursue his obsession, Samay’s path crosses with Fazal, the projectionist at the Galaxy Cinema. They strike a deal. In return for Fazal letting him watch movies all day from the projection room, Samay lets him eat the delicious food made lovingly by his mother.

In no time their ‘food-for-films’ deal turns into an endearing long-lasting friendship. However, the unlikely duo is forced to make heartbreaking choices as an era of change sweeps through the country – ultimately altering their dreams forever.

Splendid acting by an energised cast is evident from Bhavin Rabari (as Samay); Bhavesh Shrimali (Fazal), projectionist at the Galaxy Cinema); Richa Meena (as Baa, Samay’s mother); Dipen Raval (as Bapuji, Samay’s father) and Paresh Mehta (Galaxy Cinema manager).

  • Last Film Show is screening in cinemas

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