An Indian boy falls in love with storytelling, watching movies and the magic of cinema: THE LIGHT FROM WHICH DREAMS ARE is a cinephilgood drama with style, wit and lots and lots of heart. We reveal more about the insider tip in our review.
OT: Last Film Show (IND/FR/USA 2021)
The nine-year-old boy Samay (Bhavin Rabari), who lives in an Indian village, has a great passion: stories – be it telling them to his friends or experiencing them on the screen in a cinema in a neighboring town. One day he bribes the projectionist Fazal (Bhavesh Shrimali) to let him into the most holy place in the cinema – the projection room. The two become friends and Fazal teaches Samay to look at films with open, curious eyes. This awakens Samay’s dream of becoming a filmmaker. But even his kind mother Baa (Richa Meena) has doubts about this obsession. Let alone Samay’s strict father Bapuji (Dipen Raval)…
Cinematic nods to cinema often have something paradoxical about them. In the Uruguayan “Red Screening,” for example, the cinema becomes a playground for troublemakers and soon afterwards becomes the scene of a series of murders. In “Les sièges de l’Alcazar,” a critic from two competing publications allow themselves to be distracted from the film program by their burgeoning affection for each other. In “Cinema Paradiso”, the love for film art and the cinema as a community meeting place literally drips from the picture – even though the cinema shown there has obvious flaws and the audience portrayed in Giuseppe Tornatore’s classic constantly misbehaves. “The Light From which Dreams Are” also by no means depicts the cinema as a museum-like haven for film appreciation, in which the art form is handled with kid gloves: in his semi-autobiographical drama, director and author Pan Nalin shows a boy who is in the cinema The illusion of colorful moving lights is so captured that it grabs the beam of light emanating from the projector and thus blocks the image.
Cinema quickly becomes a passion for young Samay (Bhavin Rabari).
This boy is our protagonist and popular figure, Samay. Although he soon learns to refrain from this misbehavior, which he is captivated and touched by, he freely cuts frames out of film rolls, even steals entire ones, and improvises his own performances with the stolen goods using puny means. Not that the paying audience in Samay’s beloved cinema behaves in a particularly civilized manner: there is hooting, hooting and whistling in the hall – and by no means just in appropriate places. But this paradox, that cinematic homages so often revolve around distractions, disruptive factors or even threats, is no coincidence. Because the cinema itself is already a perplexing, paradoxical place, which Nalin understands very well and expresses wonderfully in “The Light from which Dreams Are Made”: In the cinema there is a friction between the enjoyment of the films, which is of satiety Accompanied by sound, thrown onto a screen that is larger than many a room wall, and the sonorous collective experience with strangers. The cinema is a film temple and a meeting place, where everything crashes and hisses at the same time. And the sparks that arise from this friction are able to ignite a blazing passion.
“The cinema itself is a perplexing, paradoxical place, which Nalin understands very well and expresses wonderfully in ‘The light from which dreams are made’: In the cinema there is a friction between the enjoyment of the films and the rich sound are thrown onto a screen that is larger than many a room wall, and the sonorous collective experience with strangers.”
A passion that probably resides (in varying degrees of intensity) in everyone who takes the trouble to read articles like this in their free time. Nalin lets us look at the genesis of such passion through young, innocent, enthusiastic eyes by allowing his audience to directly share Samay’s experience. We see how this boy, who comes from a very humble background, falls in love with the cinema, develops know-it-all tendencies, then nips them in the bud thanks to projectionist Faza, tries to be creative himself, builds friendships on the back of cinema magic, and loses his composure at the demise of analogue cinema and shows the will to let the flag of film love continue to fly. Samay is an extremely lovable main character, played charismatically by Bhavin Rabari, who handles the film’s livelier and more dramatic passages with the same charmingly simple dignity. This is particularly remarkable because Nalin doesn’t make things easy for himself and his child actor: the USA distributor appropriately coined the genre name “Cinephilgood-Drama” for “The Light From Which Dreams Are” – with everything that goes with it. Nalin’s love for cinema and a huge range of films, to which he bows with a variety of references seamlessly woven into the narrative, as well as Samay’s irrepressible optimism ensure the cinephile “feel-good” character. But Nalin never loses sight of the dramatic element.
His family, on the other hand, is less interested in films.
It starts with the indisputable fact that every technical change brings not only progress but also setbacks: thanks to digital projection, it has become much more difficult to steal an entire film act and thus rob the paying cinema audience of the pleasure – but that’s where film and cinema are has become more technical and difficult to understand, which has consequences for the distribution of film and various professions. This shows a goosebumps montage about the demise of long-serving cinema technology. And it is reflected in the subplot about Samay’s father, whose work at a little-used train station is threatened by a more modern train connection: An express train brings several places closer together, but leaves Samay’s hometown, which will soon no longer be served – and threatens the existence of those who live there Provide train passengers. However, there is one thing Nalin doesn’t dramatize in the slightest: the ability to be completely absorbed by films. The attitude that the emotional pull of a cinematic moment outweighs the search for and lengthy complaints about holes in logic. And the enthusiasm for a variety of characteristic aesthetics and directing styles.
“One thing, however, that Nalin doesn’t dramatize in the slightest: the ability to be completely absorbed by films. The attitude that the emotional pull of a cinematic moment outweighs the search for and lengthy complaints about holes in logic.”
Film, Fazal explains, is one big lie – an illusion of light and dark games that we perceive as a moving image. Samay knows how to internalize Fazal’s lesson in the most cheerful, open way, and Nalin encourages us to emulate him: No matter how much sorrow is inherent in some of the other sequences of “The Light That Makes Dreams,” the filmmaker does not show Samay’s enthusiasm as dramatic naivety. But as exemplary.
Conclusion: “The light from which dreams are made” is film magic about the magic of cinema: a nostalgic, yet never culturally pessimistic drama about lost media technologies, the simply indescribable appeal of moving images, and new cinematic opportunities.
“The light from which dreams are made” can be seen in USA cinemas from May 12, 2022.