3rd I South Asian Film Festival 2011 – “Big In Bollywood”, “Way of Life” and “What Is Time” Reviews and Trailers

Big In Bollywood

There is not one iota of any emotion other than happiness to be found within the playful behind the scenes look at the overnight mega-success of Omi Vaidya.  Now, unless you are one of the billion plus people living in India chances are you’ve never heard of Omi Vaidya.  After a chance casting in a Bollywood movie, Omi, a struggling actor living in LA, catapults to a level of stardom in India equivalent to that of the Pope.  Documenting the journey from zero to hero are his friends, which gives the film its sincere touch.  I walked away from this film with the knowledge that fans of blockbuster Bollywood films are some of the most fanatical people on earth who will risk getting run over by a bus with baby in arms just for a chance glimpse at the latest big time actor.  This movie exists to show people that documentaries could be a lot of fun.

Showtimes for Big In Bollywood:

Wednesday, November 9th – 7:20pm (Roxie Theater)

Way of Life

Way of Life is a feature-length documentary that feels more like one of those films you might see at an awards ceremony before the honoree is presented with a lifetime achievement award.  In this case, the honoree is Michael Daube and his award is for being one heck of an exceptionally noble do-gooder.  Having no medical training, Michael sets off around the world to open up hospitals where they are needed most: in small remote villages.  From what I can tell, the movie’s main point is to hammer home that Michael’s saintlike persona and dedicated devotion towards helping those less fortunate than himself is a sincere one.  The trouble I had with this film though was in both the endless talking heads (including yes, David Byrne of The Talking Heads) who other than praise Michael for being an awesome human being, did little to add anything to the film.  It would have been nice had the film actually gone somewhere besides endlessly praising the worldly Daube.  Also, you’d think that having Byrne in your film would result in a soundtrack a little more original and interesting than the usual go-to atmospheric sitar/chant Yanni new-age thingy.  The film certainly works as a tribute film and if you love films that do hardly anything other than pay tribute to somebody, then you should check out this film, otherwise, eh.

Showtimes for Way of Life:

Sunday, November 13th – 12:20pm

What Is Time

Interviewing townspeople living in post-tsunami Sri Lanka, documentarian Shireen Pasha literally asks the question, “What is time?”  The responses vary from ‘time means money’ and ‘time is education,’ to more profound answers ‘like time has no meaning at all,’ or ‘time is the speed of life.’  The purpose for asking this question is not to philosophize on our perception of time, rather it’s to show the effects of Sri Lankans as their communities become assimilated, educated and economically developed with help from the outside world and little help from their own government.  This glimpse into Sri Lanka’s countrymen and women’s lives would have made for a very interesting 5 to 10 minute short, but at only 50 minutes it was way too long for its own good and sadly starts to become somewhat pointless.  Overall the filmmakers’ intentions to raise awareness towards the plight of Sri Lankans as they struggle to rebuild their lives after such an epic natural disaster failed to make the desired impact on me.

Showtimes for What Is Time:

Sunday, November 13th – 6:00pm (Roxie Theater)


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