Thampu ★★★★

After spending a few days at an event as prestigious and mystical as the Cannes Film Festival, one begins to wonder what it’s all about. Is it the massive theaters, the celebrities in their tuxedos and dresses, the big flashy signs and tents, the promotional BMWs lining the streets? Is it about the films, both new and old that come every year for recognition and distribution? My most cynical eye tells me that Cannes is really just a polished, glorified market for films, a debaucherous display of wealth and prestige in the midst of a continent in crisis. Then I come across a film like G. Aravindan’s Thamp, and a flicker of hope burns in my chest. From a director I hadn’t heard of, coming from a region of India I was ignorant about, Thamp stands as one of the few films fulfilling the promise of Cannes: to discover and celebrate diverse cultures and creativity by watching original, inspiring films. Thamp is not like many movies I’ve seen, from India or anywhere else: it follows no traditional narrative structure, its style is honest but inscrutable, and it barely keeps up with the dozens of characters in its cast. Despite and because of what sets Thamp apart, it manages to be completely satisfying all on its own terms. 

Full review on the USC Cannes Classics Blog.

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