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Festival of Lights (2010)

Not Rated  |   |  Drama  |  13 November 2010 (USA)
7.5
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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 34 users   Metascore: 34/100
Reviews: 1 user | 6 critic | 7 from Metacritic.com

After receiving shocking news about her absent father, a rebellious teenage girl embarks on a journey from New York to Guyana to discover the truth about her family's mysterious past.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
Adem
...
Meena
...
Ravin
Nandanie Dudhnath ...
Asha
Isabella A. Santos ...
Sandy
Kamla Bhagroo ...
Sheila
...
Justin
Ramesh Deochand ...
Shah
Chunilall Narine ...
Pandit
Mark Epperson ...
INS Agent
...
Sam
Lalit Ahluwalia ...
Warden
Dion Matthews ...
Warden's Assistant
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Storyline

Separated from her father when their family immigrates from Guayana, a young girl comes of age in New York City. Battling through a troubled youth and a broken relationship with her mother, she struggles to find peace and discover the secret of what happened to her father. Written by Fawad Siddiqui

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

guyana | immigration | See All (2) »

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Separated, but never truly apart. See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated
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Details

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Release Date:

13 November 2010 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Festival of Light  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$1,500,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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User Reviews

Less than illuminating
26 June 2013 | by (Canada) – See all my reviews

In too many ways, Festival of Lights betrays itself as Shundell Prasad's feature debut. In particular, Prasad's writing has a tired, clichéd air ("He's not my Dad!," Reshma yells at her mother and second husband as she arrives home from school one day). The actors seem hampered by the lines they have to speak and no one comes off very well. Every character is two-dimensional at best, and the ensemble offers little beyond the "Guiding Light" school of dramatization.

It is also surprising, given Prasad's background in nonfiction film, that Festival of Lights avoids informing the viewer very much about Guyanese history (the Jim Jones incident is never even mentioned). Compared to Chantal Akerman's recent Almayer's Folly, with its similar family story—though set in Malaysia and with a much harsher indictment of colonialism—Prasad's effort is disappointing.

The aesthetic annoyances include the fact that some of the characters barely seem to age over the decades, Ronen Landa's original score is poorly used at times for melodramatic emphasis, and Valentina Caniglia's exterior cinematography is adequate but she harshly lights some of the interior scenes. (Caniglia's best sequence comes early, in the Diwali, or Festival of Lights, celebration of Indo-Guyanese culture.)

What keeps Festival of Lights at least somewhat absorbing is the story itself. Like daytime soap operas, the film holds one's attention by maintaining a narrative of the sort where one wants to see what happens next. This is especially true in the final reel, as Reshma and her father's friends try to free him from prison. Lacking the stilted dialogue of the earlier scenes, this build-up to the action climax comprises one of the better parts of the movie. Unfortunately, the pat ending spoils what, at this point, was starting to be a better-than- average melodrama.

In the end, Festival of Lights is less than illuminating.


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