Keep up-to-date on your favourite artists and movies, track gig and release dates, and join in the conversation.
SEARCH RESULTS FOR
The SWITCH team has checked out their top picks from the Perth Festival - click here to check out the reviews.x
review, Bangla, Bangla, film, movie, latest movies, new movie, movie ratings, current movie reviews, latest films, recent movies, current movies, movie critics, new movie reviews, latest movie reviews, latest movies out, the latest movies, review film, latest cinema releases, Australian reviews, cinema, cinema reviews, Phaim Bhuiyan, Carlotta Antonelli, Simone Liberati, Milena Mancini, Pietro Sermonti, Phaim Bhuiyan, Comedy, Romance

BANGLA

★★★

A TRULY BEAUTIFUL MESS

LAVAZZA ITALIAN FILM FESTIVAL REVIEW
LATEST REVIEWS
By Charlie David Page
5th September 2019

Phaim Bhuiyan is an impressive guy. By 24 years of age, the filmmaker has directed, co-written and starred in his own feature-length film taken from true events growing up in Italy to Bangladeshi parents. His film, ‘Bangla’, had its premiere at the prestigious International Film Festival Rotterdam, and has now made its way to Australia for the Lavazza Italian Film Festival. So will the film win the hearts of Aussie audiences?

Phaim (Bhuiyan) is an Italian-born boy from Bangladeshi heritage. Though he lives in Torpignattara, an area of Rome inundated by hipsters, his Muslim family are traditional and overly protective. Phaim is a typical kid growing up in an increasingly claustrophobic predicament. Caught between worlds, he’s trying to uphold his religion’s standards whilst fitting in as an average teenager: joining a band, going out with friends, and struggling to resist the endless allure of the fairer sex. At a gig one night, he works up the courage to talk to Asia (Carlotta Antonelli), a beautiful Italian girl, and the two begin spending more and more time together. But the more free-spirited Asia wants to make their relationship official, the more Phaim has to hide it from his conservative parents - but can Phaim keep Asia, his family and himself happy?

This is a modern-day romance that gets its flavour from its multicultural twist. While Phaim and Asia’s back-and-forth courtship is nothing new, being told from the perspective of a Bangladeshi gives the well-trodden tale a new take. Phaim’s religion (which decrees no sex before marriage and no drinking) and his other cultural hurdles - including his parents’ desire for him to settle down with a nice Bangladeshi girl - offer a whole new set of complications and comedic potential to their tried-and-true romantic encounter. These elements are taken advantage of markedly, with plenty of laughs and dilemmas that you certainly wouldn’t find in your typical Hollywood rom-com.

Phaim is our guide through this story, and does a capable job in the role. Although quiet and aloof, he has a certain charm that makes him likeable. His dry humour and reactions to situations steadily amplify his appeal, particularly when cinematic devices such as breaking the fourth wall come into play; he’s an underdog with good intentions, and you can’t help but hope he succeeds. So when it comes to his interactions with Asia, we want him to come out on top. Even coming from different worlds, their relationship is authentic and adorable - it’s a wonderful portrait of young love, and the two characters play off each other marvellously. Carlotta Antonelli is both stunning and charismatic, and a burst of light and energy every time she appears on screen, and a talent I can’t wait to see more from.

Although quiet and aloof, Phaim has a certain charm that makes him likeable. His dry humour and reactions to situations steadily amplify his appeal.

While ‘Bangla’ succeeds in many of its areas, it does have its share of persistent issues. Although Bhuiyan’s acting and screenplay are adequate, his directing is a little rudimentary. There are occasional flourishes, but otherwise his aesthetic style paired with cinematographer Simone D'Onofrio’s work is somewhat simplistic. This could also be attributed to the low budget of the film, but when accompanied by some awkward moments of dialogue, it does leave the final product feeling a little juvenile.

Around 39,000 Bangladeshis live in Rome, and 140,000 across Italy. There’s clearly an audience for a film like ‘Bangla’, even more so if you include anyone who’s been involved in a cross-cultural romance. Having a love story with a non-Caucasian lead is a breath of fresh air, and provides representation of everyday Bangladeshis living average lives. "Those who migrate here [to Italy] are busting their asses for providing us with a better future," Bhuiyan says. "I felt that commitment, and it gave me motivation." It’s clearly worked wonders, with ‘Bangla’ an impressive feature debut that offers a multicultural romance with a wonderfully tongue-in-cheek sense of humour. It’s the perfect film for a light, fluffy evening at the cinema with your better half.

FAST FACTS
RELEASE DATE: TBA
RUN TIME: 1h 24m
CAST: Phaim Bhuiyan
Carlotta Antonelli
Simone Liberati
Milena Mancini
Pietro Sermonti
DIRECTOR: Phaim Bhuiyan
WRITERS: Phaim Bhuiyan
Vanessa Picciarelli
PRODUCERS: Annamaria Morelli
Domenico Procacci
TOP-RATED REVIEWS
The Peanut Butter Falcoln - Join the adventure of a lifetime
TRENDINGWIN THE PEANUT BUTTER FALCOLNJoin the adventure of a lifetime
And the Oscar goes to... - Pick this year's winners to take home your own prize!
TRENDINGWIN AND THE OSCAR GOES TO...Pick this year's winners to take home your own prize!
For Sama - Oscar-nominated documentary on the female experience of war
TRENDINGWIN FOR SAMAOscar-nominated documentary on the female experience of war
The Lighthouse - Robert Pattinson & Willem Dafoe's wind-swept horror
TRENDINGWIN THE LIGHTHOUSERobert Pattinson & Willem Dafoe's wind-swept horror
Standing Up For Sunny - A comedy without the comedy but very sweet
TRENDINGSTANDING UP FOR SUNNYA comedy without the comedy but very sweet
God of the Piano - A tale that tickles the ivories
TRENDINGGOD OF THE PIANOA tale that tickles the ivories
True History of the Kelly Gang - A magnificent deconstruction of the great Australian antihero
TRENDINGTRUE HISTORY OF THE KELLY GANGA magnificent deconstruction of the great Australian antihero
Inseparable Bros - A heartwarming tale about disability and the power of friendship
TRENDINGINSEPARABLE BROSA heartwarming tale about disability and the power of friendship
NT Live: Present Laughter - Andrew Scott astounds in this thrilling Noel Coward classic
TRENDINGNT LIVE: PRESENT LAUGHTERAndrew Scott astounds in this thrilling Noel Coward classic
The Peanut Butter Falcon - Wholesome and heartfelt
TRENDINGTHE PEANUT BUTTER FALCONWholesome and heartfelt
Motherless Brooklyn - A neo-noir set in 1950s New York
TRENDINGMOTHERLESS BROOKLYNA neo-noir set in 1950s New York
A Hidden Life - Terrence Malick's stunning ode to the power of kindness
TRENDINGA HIDDEN LIFETerrence Malick's stunning ode to the power of kindness
Perth Festival 2020 - The reviews
TRENDINGPERTH FESTIVAL 2020The reviews
The Violin Player - Sex and strings
TRENDINGTHE VIOLIN PLAYERSex and strings
A Guide to Second Date Sex - A quintessentially awkward British romantic comedy
TRENDINGA GUIDE TO SECOND DATE SEXA quintessentially awkward British romantic comedy
A Beautiful Day in the Neighbourhood - Mr Rogers: healing the world one lost soul at a time
TRENDINGA BEAUTIFUL DAY IN THE NEIGHBOURHOODMr Rogers: healing the world one lost soul at a time
School of Seduction - Husband hunting in Russia
TRENDINGSCHOOL OF SEDUCTIONHusband hunting in Russia
Revisiting 'Dark City' 20 years later - The most underrated and influential sci-fi film ever?
TRENDINGREVISITING 'DARK CITY' 20 YEARS LATERThe most underrated and influential sci-fi film ever?
Children of the Sea - Sunk by a soggy script
TRENDINGCHILDREN OF THE SEASunk by a soggy script
Parasite - A bloodthirsty and very funny look at class warfare
TRENDINGPARASITEA bloodthirsty and very funny look at class warfare
© 2011 - 2020 midnightproductions
All rights reserved

Support SWITCH | Disclaimer | Contact Us