Jazz, film, and improvised culture.
Tribeca ’15: Sunrise
Andrew Vachss made a Giallo in Mumbai, you would have to give it your full
attention. Arguably, India could use a child protection advocate and cautionary
story teller like Vachss, judging the reported 60,000 children that go missing
in the country every year. It is a grim statistic that opens Partho Sen-Gupta’s
hallucinatory but hard-hitting Sunrise (trailer here), which screens
during the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival.
Joshi is a social services inspector with the Mumbai police force (think SVU).
His own daughter Aruna was kidnapped and the copper still isn’t over it.
Neither is his wife Leela. In fact, they might both be losing their grip on
reality, but in very different ways. When Joshi starts investigating the suspected
abduction of another young girl named Naina, her case and that of his daughter
become intertwined with the presumed visions Joshi has had of a seedy nightclub
ironically called Paradise.
Joshi chases a shadowy figure through the city’s rain-drenched streets, he
experiences increasing difficulty distinguishing reality from his visions. It
might even be bigger than Joshi’s problematic perception, as the film’s border
between reality and fantasy becomes increasingly porous.
Sunrise is the sort of
massively stylish Lynchian-film-on-acid that can overwhelm even the sturdiest
screen presence. However, Adil Hussain’s absolutely riveting work as Joshi
stands out and stands tall. It is a haunting, soul-searing performance that is
all the more impressive given the gallons upon gallons of water that are dumped
on him over the course of the film.
ultra-noir and uber-surreal tone of Sunrise
makes it unlikely to go mainstream, which is too bad, because it has an
important message. Coming in the wake of the India’s Daughter censorship controversy, it viscerally addresses
another social pathology many Indians are inclined to sweep under the rug. With
recent studies suggesting 53% of the nation’s children have suffered some form
of sexual abuse, you can quibble with numbers here and there, but the trends
and the magnitudes are undeniably alarming.
Be that as it sadly is, Sunrise is a bravura work of auteurist cinema. Sen-Gupta and
cinematographer Jean-Marc Ferriere give the film a striking look, using the
lurid Giallo color palate and the traditional nocturnal neons of film noir.
Highly recommended for fans of high-end mind-benders with a social purpose, Sunrise screens again tonight (4/22) and
tomorrow (4/23), as part of this year’s Tribeca Film Festival.
Labels: Indian Cinema, Tribeca '15