The magic of cinema is a subject many directors like to pursue, largely because it’s what drew them to start making films in the first place. The results have range from perennial misty-eyed favourites like Singin’ in the Rain and Cinema Paradiso to more outlandish and analytic modern fare. The joy and wonder of going to the pictures is captured in The Last Film Show.
Samay (Bhavin Rabari), a 9-year-old boy, lives with his family in a remote village in India. His father (Dipen Raval) makes a living selling tea when trains stop at the local station. A traditional man, he expects his children to go into respectable jobs. However, when one day Samay slips into a cinema hall, he’s instantly transfixed. Secretly, he starts returning every day, befriending the projectionist (Bhavesh Shrimali) who lets him watch for free in exchange for his lunch.
The Last Film Show is a heart-warming drama about the power and pull of cinema. In an era where streaming services are threatening to usurp it as a medium, writer/director Pan Nalin reminds us of what a transformative experience it can be. India’s Oscar submission is very assuredly done. While it doesn’t reinvent the wheel, The Last Film Show is an entertaining and engaging coming-of-age drama.
The Last Film Show is in select US cinemas on 2 December before a digital release on 9 December.