The Global Lens 2013 film series at the Capitol Theatre opens with a comedy from India and a film described as a “darkly funny, gorgeously gritty portrait” of Beijing's disaffected youth.
The film from India, “Shyamal Uncle Turns Off the Lights,” will be screened Friday and Sunday. “Beijing Flickers” runs Saturday and Monday. This year, all films start at 5:30 p.m.
“Shyamal Uncle Turns Off the Lights,” looks at an 80-year-old retiree who is determined to get the streetlights turned off after sunrise. The old man finds his sense of propriety upset by the wasteful use of electricity. According to Global Lens material, “finding someone to take him seriously proves a battle against an indifferent bureaucracy and a complacent status quo.” His battle might also be a welcome distraction from his otherwise dull routine.
“Shyamal Uncle Turns Off the Lights,” which runs just 65 minutes, is based on a true story. It is directed by Suman Ghosh.
“Suman Ghosh's verite-style film is alive with the sights, sounds and personalities of this old Kolkata neighborhood, as his unlikely protagonist pursues a quest that adds up to a wry, revealing, highly original tour of modern India.” Kolkata is also known as Calcutta.
According to Cahiers du cinema, “The extraordinary magic generated from the last part, when the old man wakes up as in its first morning, at dawn, in a street still asleep, belongs to a fairy tale and leads to one of the most beautiful ‘happy endings’ that we have seen ever before.”
“Beijing Flickers,” which runs 96 minutes, focuses on a young man left behind by Beijing's fabulous new wealth. According to publicity material, he “experiences moments of euphoria amid despair as he roams the city with other young dreamers in this darkly funny, gorgeously gritty portrait of disaffected youth.”
The film was directed by Zhang Yuan, who in 1994 was named by Time Magazine one of the 100 Young Leaders of the Next Century. The cast includes Duan Bowen as San Bao and Shi Shi as Xiao Shi.
“Shot on Beijing's fringes, with concrete housing projects towering in the background, piles of brick rubble and dilapidated bridges, ‘Beijing Flickers’ beautifully captures an overall sense of urban blight,” says Screen Daily. “And with its likable cast of misfits — particularly Duan Bowen's melancholy San Bao and the effervescent Shi Shi — it's also a tender look at China's forgotten — and yet defiant — underclass.”
Asian Cinema Plus says that in this film, “newly rich, ever-changing” Beijing “actually becomes a character.”
A discussion will follow each film, facilitated by Heidi Jenson.
All films are shown in native languages with English subtitles. This weekend, the dialogue will be in Bengali and Mandarin.
They are not rated but are recommended for high school students and older.
For information, call 605-226-5494, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit CapitolCinema.net.