Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Film Review: El Bola

As I write this, my hands are trembling. From sheer adrenaline. Its been a long time since a movie did this to me.

El Bola (The Pellet) narrates the tale of young Pablo, nicknamed Pellet for the ball-bearing he always carries around with him 'for luck'. The film slowly reveals that Pablo is the victim of a brutal and vindictive father, partly through the eyes of his new friend, Alfredo.

Spoilers ahead.

I guess in India, its fairly commonplace to see children getting slapped, even in public. Almost all of us have got flogged, I am sure. But I hope beatings of the sort shown in this movie do not take place anywhere. To see a small child, especially one as likeable as this character, getting beat up savagely is not a pretty sight. The scene is brutal; the director has not held back at all in depicting the helplessness and defiance of Pablo.

The sheepishness of the revulsive father when he realises that he has been exposed has been subtly shown as well. There are questions raised about the sexuality of Alfredo's father, Jose - but the director wisely decided to leave it at that. The comparisons between the outwardly steady family of Pablo and the more unconventional family of Alfredo are merely suggested at, not pushed down your throat - no dumbing-down stuff here, thankfully.

In the end, the more conservative family is exposed for the hypocrites they are, and the bonding of the unconventional family is highlighted. Acting is pretty good, all around - especially the actors playing Pablo, his father and Jose. IMHO the film richly deserves all the international awards it has received.

I pray that Mahesh Bhatt/Sanjay Gupta do not see this movie anywhere.

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