A group of desperate slum dwellers, living on the margins of society under impossible pressures, find an invitation to a handball tournament in Bavaria to be the answer to their prayers, a one way ticket to the West and the wealth that will solve all their problems.Written by
There are two scenes cut from the international release and the TV broadcasts. First one is early in the movie, Manoj is nervously waiting at the embassy gate because Stanley is late. He finally arrives, grinning, as if it's no big deal. The second cut scene is when Manoj's family is having dinner at the fancy restaurant where he works. Two British guys notice them, see how out of place they look at the expensive restaurant, and one says to the other "Looks like someone won the lottery." See more »
One of the best movie experiences you'll ever have, period
I realize the words "foreign movie" and "Sri Lanka" are enough to scare away some Western audiences, let alone the very idea of watching a movie with subtitles. But if you miss Machan, you'll miss one of the best movie experiences you'll ever have.
I use the words "best movie experience" rather than "best movie" because this is no Apocalypse Now, no Vertigo. But it'll evoke feelings in you that you forgot you ever had. This is heartwarming without being cliché, very funny without being a comedy, very sad without being sentimental. It feels very real, and the fact that this was a real story helps enormously.
The story is simple yet unbelievable, even more so when you think it actually happened: A group of poor people in the slums of Sri Lanka, loving their families but financially desperate, are trying every way they can to go abroad. Then one of them has an idea: To go to an international handball tournament in Germany, disguised as the national Sri Lanka handball team.
I had the pleasure of watching this when it first came out, when the migrant situation around the world wasn't yet in the shape it is today. This movie should act as a beacon for the westerners who, rightfully or wrongfully, are puzzled about the whole phenomenon. These aren't people who want to go and pillage the western countries. They aren't after their women. They aren't even after making lots of money. All they want to do is get by. Their dream is not to go to the West and make it big: their dream is simply to be a janitor, a factory worker, a driver, a cleaner somewhere in the West, solely for the purpose of sending home some money. Because no matter how much effort they make, there's no money to be made home.
This is a very sad existence, and certainly extremely hard to grasp for anyone who has never faced poverty. But for these people, it's not something they notice on news bulletins and then move on. It's not a nasty feeling that goes away when you give 5 bucks to a homeless person. It's a daily, stark reality. And all their thoughts, their dreams, all their talk revolves around the only option they can see: going abroad. Knowing very well that they will be ridiculed, cold-shouldered, and shun, they still want to do it to send some real money to their families, who they won't be seeing for years.
But don't misunderstand me: This isn't a preaching movie, or a demoralizing documentary about how people in less fortunate countries live. Quite the contrary: It's very upbeat, very hopeful. And although it's not an out-and-out comedy, it'll make you laugh out loud many times. You'll know and care for each and every character. By the end, you'll feel more happiness than all the Disney movies you've seen have given you combined, and without all the fake sentimentality. Everything works so well, from the smallest bit players to editing, from the dialogue to the musical score, that it'll catch you off-guard.
Kudos to Mr. Pasolini who wrote and directed Machan, but I was surprised to see that he's directed only one movie since. Also kudos to all the cast and everyone involved. But I have to give a special hats off to Mahendra Perera, who plays Ruan. This guy is so funny you won't believe it. He looks very much like (and even sounds exactly like) American comedian Tim Allen, except Perera is a lot funnier. He steals every scene, and proves he's a very fine actor.
In short: do not miss Machan. Seek it out, and see it.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this