Movies

Film Review: LAST FILM SHOW: A Haunting Tribute to the Power of Film [Tribeca 2021]


Last Film Show Review

Last Film Show (2021) Film Review, from the 20th Annual Tribeca Film Festival, a movie directed by Pan Nalin, and starring Bhavin Rabari, Bhavesh Shrimali, Rahul Koli, Richa Meena, Shoban Makwa, Vikas Bata, Dipen Raval, Kishan Parmar, Vijay Mer, and Tia Sebastian.

Director Pan Nalin’s powerful new movie is a tribute to the emotional impact motion pictures can make. Last Film Show takes viewers on a wonderful journey. We see cinema through the eyes of a young boy who finds peace and tranquility in his enjoyment of movies.

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Set in India, we meet a 9-year old boy named Samay (Bhavin Rabari) who lives with his family in a remote village. As the film’s story begins, he goes to the movies with his parents and his life is forever transformed. Samay becomes transcended by the idea of storytelling through moving pictures. He finds a way to sneak into the movie theater on his own but is kicked out. When he encounters a film projectionist named Fazal (Bhavesh Shrimali), he is allowed to watch the movies but there’s a catch. Samay has to trade the food his mother makes him to watch the movies. Fazal needs to eat. This is a trade-off that Samay is more than happy to make.

As the film progresses, Samay’s young friends are also led on to the power of storytelling through celluloid. They end up, at one point in the film, stealing film reels but they aren’t sure how to project the film properly. Of course, their theft of the film reels causes a stir at the local theater as film reels are missing from the movies being shown and the audience becomes understandably angry.

The most amazing aspect of Last Film Show is the friendship between Samay and Fazal. These are two characters who find escape in the movies and the bond between these two characters is very touching. Bhavin Rabari captures all the wonderful emotions that his character feels through watching films whether it be action movies, or movies with dance sequences. Bhavesh Shrimali’s Fazal is a well-written character. He needs to support his family by running the film projector and finds inner peace through his friendship with Samay. As these two characters form a powerful bond, we know their time together will be limited which makes for a heartbreaking story line.

As the transition from celluloid to digital comes into play later in the picture, the movie presents viewers with a tale that signifies the end of an era. The movie cites David Lean, and Stanley Kubrick as great influences among others. At the conclusion, names of other filmmakers are spoken and it makes for a heart-wrenching conclusion to the film as these great revolutionary filmmakers are honored through their mentioning.

There is some heavy symbolism here in scenes such as one where Samay is shown curling up with the actual film itself. These scenes make good points as they demonstrate the attachment one who loves film can have to the idea of being able to escape their problems through one’s passion for the movies.

Samay’s dad also encounters problems with his job as he serves coffee to passengers at a particular train stop and as things change in terms of film for Samay, they also change for the father in terms of his job at the train station as life is constantly evolving.

Pan Nalin’s direction truly involves us in the movie’s characters’ lives and their pains and passions become ours as well for the duration of the film’s running time, and perhaps, even after the film concludes as the movie can have the impact to stay with the viewer long after the end credits roll.

Last Film Show is a tribute to the old school 35mm form of storytelling that lasted for quite a while before the digital age took over. As one watches the children in the film so fascinated with film that they ride their bikes immersed in it, one is reminded of the power of youth and innocence. Nalin’s film is quite an achievement. It is highly recommended.

Rating: 9/10

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