31 October 2012 8:00 AM, PDT | ioncinema | See recent ioncinema news »

Lights Out: Prasad’s Feature Debut a Messy, Stagnant Immigration Drama

Previously working as a documentary filmmaker, director Shundell Prasad makes her fiction feature debut with Festival of Lights. Here she explores issues of identity and immigration with a family fleeing 1970s Guyana for a better life in the United States. However, despite the population she highlights, mostly unseen or unheard in mainstream Western cinema, the end product is a contrived soap opera of cliché and predictability. Top that off with an extremely grating, off-putting lead performance, a weak screenplay and a rather uninspired look, and you have what feels like a film school conversation piece inspired by innately better material, which something like Mira Nair’s similar 1991 film, Mississippi Masala (yes, different region and immigration experience explored) simply blows out of the water in comparison.

Beginning during a period of political turmoil, we are introduced to Vishnu (Jimi Mistry »

- Nicholas Bell

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