In a nutshell, Bored & Dangerous says: “Does a great job of tackling a pretty heavy subject, and making it entertaining, while never trivializing it.”
The main reason I started this blog was to make me watch more movies, and to vary the kinds of movies I watched. The first part of that has been well and truly accomplished with me watching hundreds of movies for the first time, instead of falling back on old favourites over and over again. But l’m not sure if I’ve varied my selections enough. I still watch mainly American movies, with directors, writers and actors that make them a pretty safe bet. So this year, I’m forcing myself to seek out more international movies. With Foreign Language Weekends, every weekend(ish) during 2016, I’ll review two(ish) non-English language movies.
“I’m enjoying my chocolate.”
It would be a tossup between which I know less about, the intricacies of tensions between India and Pakistan, or the standard tropes and themes of Bollywood movies. I also had no idea that I had any interest in learning more about either of these subjects. But I’ll be buggered if being schooled on both didn’t lead to one of the most unexpected gems in my 2016 foreign language movie odyssey, with Filmistaan.
Wannabe actor Sunny (Sharib Hashmi) lives and breathes cinema. He can quote every word to dozens of movies and wants nothing more than to star in them himself. The only problem is, he’s a terrible actor. After a string of failed auditions, he accepts a role on the crew of an American documentary, which leads to an incident with some roadside gunmen. After which, Sunny wakes up to discover that he has been taken prisoner and is being held across the border, in Pakistan.
He soon forms a bond with Aftaab (Inaamulhaq), a DVD bootlegger who lives in the same home where Sunny is being held. While gun toting extremists surround them, their shared love for cinema quickly shows how much the Indians and Pakistanis have in common. But while they find plenty of joy and common ground, it’s never possible to forget the hostile situation Sunny has found himself in, and the generations of bad blood that fuel it.
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From my very ill informed perspective, Filmistaan did a great job of tackling a pretty heavy subject, and making it entertaining, while never trivializing it. Sunny and Aftaab have a series of fun bonding moments, there’s a good amount of broad humor and big laughs. But at the same time, the very real threat is always visible on the edges. The message of the movie is a tad too blatant in some moments. Sunny explicitly talking about the immense similarities between the two countries comes a little too thick a little too early. But overall, the feel of Filimistaan is just so optimistic and positive, it’s hard to not be charmed by it, even at its most obvious.