The next screening of the Quesnel Film Club’s winter season features the story of a young girl in rural India who dreams of being a rockstar.
“Dhunu (Bhanita Das) wants a rock band,” states the Quesnel Film Club’s brochure. “It’s an admirable goal for a young girl, but one that’s out of reach when you live in a remote village in northeast India. And when your mother is a widow struggling to put food on the table, dreams of electric guitars can seem like madness. Yet a guitar is exactly what drives Dhunu’s ambition. At 10 years old, she is alive with a passion for music and a dazzling confidence in her own convictions.”
Village Rockstars, the second feature film from Indian filmmaker Rima Das, paints an inspiring portrait of a young girl finding her own place in a world made for boys and men.
Das, who wrote, directed, edited and produced the film, grew up in the same village in Assam where she shot Village Rockstars, and she recruited a local, non-professional cast.
“This may have seemed daring, but the result is magic,” according to the brochure. “The performances are natural and fresh. The marshlands and village textures are palpable in Das’s intimate, widescreen camerawork. When the rains come, they drench Dhunu and her playmates in scenes that could never be staged.”
It is an idyllic world, although Dhunu still has to navigate the mysterious ways of adults and boys.
“The same boys who want to join her in rockstar glory tease and mistreat her because she’s a girl,” according to the film club brochure. “Her mother is a strong figure in her life, but she seems to have little patience for her daughter’s extravagant dreams. It’s only when Dhunu sits at the feet of a village elder as he describes how to unlock the power of thought that she begins to glimpse how she might achieve her boundless musical vision.”
Village Rockstars was selected as India’s official submission to the 91st Academy Awards for best foreign language film, although it was not one of the final nominees. The film won several awards at the 65th National Film Awards in New Delhi in 2018, including Best Feature Film.
“Village Rockstars is heartbreaking and uplifting in equal measure,” writes Renuka Vyavahare of the Times of India. “A young girl and her mother’s woes and misery are not music to the ears, but their spirit is.”
Village Rockstars will be shown Thursday, Feb. 13 at 6:30 p.m. at the Carib Theatre in downtown Quesnel. Regular admission is $10, while senior admission is $8, and film memberships are included in admission.
For more information, call 250-992-6298, email firstname.lastname@example.org or join the Quesnel Film Club Facebook group.