13 September 2019.
BLINDED BY THE LIGHT (Music of My Life) **1/2
What is it about Indian/Pakistani guys and these iconic rock musicians?
After the great biopics on Freddy Mercury and Elton John, come these feel-good films, first about an Indian fellow who taps into the Beatles music (“Yesterday”, by Danny Boyle of “Trainspotters” fame), and now this one about the influence of ‘The Boss’ on a Pakistani teenager.
So, what have Bruce Springsteen, immigrant Pakistanis and Luton, England have in common? A great deal, as you’ll find out in this film about the hopeless dreams of a 16 year-old Pakistani, who yearns to be a writer, while his traditionalist father keeps reminding him of his family duties and their ethnic roots in an unwelcome England of the eighties.
Such a subject is rife for a cliché-ridden trap, and despite the sweetness of the message, directer Gurinder Chadha of “Bend it like Beckham” often falls into it. But there is the hopeful true story behind it and the words and music of The Boss to drive it. Especially if you’re a Springsteen fan…
RED JOAN **1/2
And here is another true story, this one about an elderly British lady (played by the great Judy Dench) who is suspected of having been a spy for the Soviet Union during WWII.
Bewildered when the police come to pick her up at her home, and puzzled at their interrogation, she calls upon her son, who is a lawyer. Layer after layer the truth comes seeping out.
It is during the insistent questioning that we see her flashbacks to when she was a university student, meeting an array of international characters who begin to influence her ideals.
A trendy girlfriend, an alluring young man, and the shock of America’s bombing of Hiroshima bring both excitement and existential turmoil into her life. The film is a bit over-dramatized, while some of the (younger) acting feels contrived, but it is an interesting testimony to a life lived with honor and conviction.
(Showing at the Cine17)
Superb **** Very Good *** Good ** Mediocre * Miserable – no stars
Neptune Ravar Ingwersen reviews film extensively for publications in Switzerland. She views 4 to 8 films a week and her aim is to sort the wheat from the chaff for readers.