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HomeReview‘Santosh’: Cannes Review

‘Santosh’: Cannes Review

Dir/scr: Sandhya Suri. India/France/UK/Germany. 2024. 127mins

This gripping, sinewy police procedural set in rural Uttar Pradesh, in northern India, follows Santosh (Shahana Goswami), a younger widow who, because of a authorities scheme, is obtainable her late husband’s job as a police constable. It’s a job that brings her self-respect, independence, a way of obligation and crucially, a newfound energy on this planet. It additionally provides her a front-row seat from which she views the ugly realities of regulation enforcement in her nook of India: the rife corruption, the institutional sexism, the caste prejudices and the informal brutality. It’s a terrific characteristic debut from British-Indian documentary filmmaker Sandhya Suri – a propulsive neo-noir that holds up a mirror to up to date India.

A propulsive neo-noir that holds up a mirror to up to date India

Suri, a 2023 Display screen Star Of Tomorrow, reduce her enamel in documentaries with the 2006 title I For India, which premiered in Sundance, adopted in 2018 by the BAFTA nominated quick movie The Subject and the archive essay characteristic documentary Round India With A Film Digicam. Her swap to fiction from factual filmmaking is assured: it is a crisply-executed crime image that negotiates its hot-button themes with intelligence and a refreshing lack of sensationalism. Additional pageant curiosity is probably going following the movie’s premiere in Un Sure Regard, the place it might additionally generate a flurry of curiosity amongst consumers.

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There’s a watchful high quality in Goswami, a way of a formidable mind behind a quiet manner, that works supremely properly in her efficiency as Santosh. This can be a character who is consistently pulled by conflicting forces: she is negotiating grief over the lack of her beloved husband (“a love match” feedback one character, knowingly), however on the identical time she is obtainable a possibility to understand her personal appreciable potential. She is, she rapidly grasps, good at her job. She sees and abhors the worst behaviour of her colleagues, and but she will not be resistant to the perimeter advantages of the place – the authority imbued in her good, sand-brown uniform, the fists filled with rupee notes provided by miscreants hoping to bribe their approach out of a good spot. 

Of all her colleagues, most of them smirking males who get their kicks from punching down, Santosh is the one one who takes severely the anguished low-caste man who involves report the disappearance of his teenage daughter, Devika. Even so, her superiors ship him packing with out logging his criticism. However when Devika’s physique is discovered a number of days later, public anger swells and protests erupt in opposition to the police drive’s indifference and mishandling of the case. To defuse the state of affairs, the police authorities hand the case over to a girl: Inspector Sharma (Sunita Rajwar) is a trailblazing veteran feminine police officer who, after a rocky first encounter, takes a shine to Santosh.

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There’s a knotty complexity to the connection between the 2 ladies, one thing that Rajwar mines beautifully along with her charismatic however unreadable efficiency. On one hand, Sharma acts as a mentor, elevating the youthful lady and fast-tracking her development. On the opposite, there’s an uneasy intimacy in her method. It might simply be clumsy overtures of friendship. In spite of everything, what might be lonelier than being a robust lady in a male-dominated world? Or it might be one thing extra predatory. 

Santosh learns a lot from the expertise, however her takeaway is one thing that locations her at odds with all of her colleagues: the concept that police work doesn’t essentially cease one a conviction has been bludgeoned dwelling. And true justice is difficult to return by in a spot the place guilt is assumed should you’re poor, and innocence will be purchased should you’re wealthy.

Manufacturing corporations: Good Chaos, Appropriate Footage, Haut Et Court docket, Razor Movie Manufacturing

Worldwide gross sales: Mk2 intlsales@mk2.com

Producers: Mike Goodridge, James Bowsher, Balthazar de Ganay, Alan McAlex

Cinematography: Lennert Hillege

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Manufacturing design: Devika Dave

Enhancing: Maxime Pozzi Garcia

Music: Luisa Gerstein

Essential solid: Shahana Goswami, Sunita Rajwar, Sanjay Bishnoi




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