A mischievous nine-year-old boy is the unlikely hero of this masterful movie from Pan Nalin (Angry Indian Goddesses, 2015) who transports the viewer back to the awe and innocence of childhood. Samay and his cohort of rascals hitch a ride on the train that passes their remote village and find their way to a rundown movie theater that offers all the entertainment their little hearts desire. When his friends get escorted out after sneaking in without paying, Samay proves to be the more resourceful one, bribing the hungry projectionist with the home-cooked lunch his mother packed for him. And so begins a daily routine; his lunch in exchange for access to the projection booth—the best seat in the house—where wide-eyed Samay watches the world unfold before him on the big screen. But when the theater transitions from 35mm to digital, this safe haven is disrupted and Samay enlists his buddies to construct their own DIY film projection apparatus.
With vivid cinematography that captures the charm of the Gujrat region of India, the film is an homage to the cinema of the past, and a jubilant reminder of the universal magic of movies. It’s a feelgood not-to-be-missed return to the big screen experience that we’ve all been craving. —Lucy Mukerjee
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Pan Nalin is an international filmmaker best known for directing award-winning films such as Samsara, Valley of Flowers, and Ayurveda: Art of Being. His debut film, Samsara, won awards at AFI Fest and Melbourne International Film Festival.