Wednesday, December 3, 2008

SLUMDOGS - Part III (The Final Installment)

The film SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE was shot in India, and a significant portion of the film takes place in the slums. Slums like we don’t know here – where people literally build villages on mountains of trash. How can you or I identify with India? It’s nothing like what we know.

But that’s not true. If I am cut, I bleed. If you are cut, you bleed. In India, if a slumdog is cut, he bleeds. I guess there is a lot we all have in common, if we want to see beyond price tags and preferred addresses.

And we have to know to look beyond individual circumstances. Yeah it was good schools you went to. No, I don’t know that word and never been to that place. At your family table you had successful filmmakers, businessmen, and thinkers dining. And some of you smell too good, because you never had to scrub something really-really nasty with that harsh-maybe-poisonous- cleanser. But put us eye to eye in a moment where neither of us are rated by circumstances – My look is clear, is yours?

Mostly though, we will never meet eye to eye. If I am serving you, usually your eyes are elsewhere, with good reason, because I’m suppose ta be invisible. So go see a film like SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE, in dark and privacy, and meet eye to eye – and have a lot of fun with this heart wrenching-romantic- joyous-only-too-true fairy tale!


THE BASIC PLOT: A young man who grew up in the poorest neighborhoods in India becomes a contestant on the Indian version of the American game show – Who Wants To Be A Millionaire. To everyone’s surprise the young man correctly answers the questions, all the way up to the last question with the huge jackpot. But before he gets to this final show, the producer of the show has him arrested because the producer believes that no one who comes from where someplace so poor could possibly know so much. It has to be that the slumdog is cheating!
As the young man is interrogated and tortured by the police inspector, he continues to insist he knew the answers to the game show questions because they happen to be things that he learned out of the very experiences of his life. Finally the inspector plays back the tape of the game show and asks the young man to explain each answer.
What a great way to introduce flashbacks! The film weaves back and forth, from the game show to episodes in the young man’s live, starting from when he was a child, and following him, his older-often-brutal brother, and the girl who is also an orphan (who the young man is destined to love). The film is full of colors and vitality and the humor, (as well as great music and interesting shots).
By the end of the film the young man’s life -- a journey in the face of the most dire obstacles -- is shown to have great value, for it has proven the trueness of his heart. For the people of India, who are glued to TV screens across the country, the young man on the game show becomes the very symbol of hope (with great-makes-you-want-to-fly-out-of-your-seat dance music on the soundtrack for us in the audience).

That’s it for my entry today. Was going to write about the script POINTING FINGERS, the next Brooklyn Young Filmmakers Community Filmmaking Project, but this entry is already long enough.

Plus my mother is visiting soon and that means extra housecleaning. I’m doing a lot of freelance work right now. So this is kinda a challenge, blogging 5 days a week. But we’re going to prove TRUE GRIT ( was a movie!).

And had to put my cat friend Max down on Monday. Twelve years old, but she was like an overgrown kitten. She was playful up to a couple of weeks ago, then the kidney problems showed and things went pretty quick. I am glad she is resting and left me so many wonderful memories.

Back tomorrow. - T

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