Review: ‘Gangor’

A well-intentioned but naive photojournalist working on a story about violence against women is the unintentional catalyst for his subject's degradation in Italo Spinelli's clumsy debut, "Gangor." Adapted from a story by noted Bengali author Mahasweta Devi, the pic is hobbled by pedestrian dialogue and oddly uninspired work from a talented crew presumably simply following orders. A powerful cry against thoughtless haves wreaking havoc on have-nots becomes weak meller material, limiting chances for commercial or fest exposure.

A well-intentioned but naive photojournalist working on a story about violence against women is the unintentional catalyst for his subject’s degradation in Italo Spinelli’s clumsy debut, “Gangor.” Adapted from a story by noted Bengali author Mahasweta Devi, the pic is hobbled by pedestrian dialogue and oddly uninspired work from a talented crew presumably simply following orders. A powerful cry against thoughtless haves wreaking havoc on have-nots becomes weak meller material, limiting chances for commercial or fest exposure.

Upin (Adil Hussain) goes to a remote area of West Bengal’s Purulia district to chronicle the forced displacement of tribal peoples, especially women. He spies Gangor (Priyanka Bose) breast-feeding and is struck by her beauty; when a photo he shoots of the scene appears in the papers, Gangor is ostracized by her tribe for immodesty and is plunged into a vortex of humiliation. A tendency toward lecturing does the script no favors, while early flashback shuttling is poorly delineated. The finale’s climactic exposure was better done in Seema Kapoor’s “The Weekly Bazaar.” Rough, slightly grainy handheld lensing by ace d.p. Marco Onorato seems to be compensating for the inability to sustain a scene.

Gangor

Italy-India

Production

A BiBi Film, Isaria Prods., Nirvana Motion Pictures production, in association with Rai Cinema. Produced by Angelo Barbagallo, Vinod Kumar, Isabella Spinelli. Executive producer, Sushma Morthania. Directed by Italo Spinelli. Screenplay, Spinelli, Antonio Falduto, based on the short story "Choli ke pichhe" (Behind the Bodice) by Mahasweta Devi.

Crew

Camera (color), Marco Onorato; editor, Jacopo Quadri; music, Iqbal Darbar; production designer, Gautam Basu; costume designer, Suchismita Dasgupta. Reviewed at Rome Film Festival (competing), Oct. 31, 2010. Running time: 94 MIN.

With

Adil Hussain, Samrat Chakrabarti, Priyanka Bose, Seema Rehmani, Tillotama Shome, Manoj Mishra. (Bengali, English, Purulia tribal dialogue)

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