Thampu

Thampu

In its learned repetitions, following a place, a people, and a time, Thampu develops into something of an arresting watch. Perhaps, for me, it's because the film takes place in the '70s, and this is about as authentic a portrayal of the Kerala of that era as you're going to get. Something about the faces of those in attendance at the circus feels so natural and unprompted, which made those moments that much more exciting to watch. It was quite an emotional experience for me, despite the fact that nothing really happens in the film, because it made me feel very nostalgic. The film isn't about anything, in essence it is only concerned with portraying a circus and the village it comes to, with little care for subtext. There is nothing between the lines. What you're presented with is fascinating enough, though, because like I said, the portrayal of the time is so learned, with inconsequential sub-plots invented for the sole purpose of expanding the circle of characters explored. There are those little scenes, like when the children get a performer to write letters to their close ones, that made me feel a little void inside; and when the circus announcement is intercut with an old Malayalam song, that took me back to a time I've only heard of in my grandfather's stories. Oh, as beautiful as when the leaves shimmer to the beat of the chenda, so somber when the old performer and the monkey apply makeup alongside each other.

Aravindan is a very original filmmaker. It's difficult to point out his influences, and it's difficult to let you in on why it is I enjoy his movies. Perhaps it's purely the mechanical documentation of a time that I'm a fan of, I can't say for sure.

Block or Report