Keep up-to-date on your favourite artists and movies, track gig and release dates, and join in the conversation.
SEARCH RESULTS FOR
With this year's Jewish International Festival underway, SWITCH has checked out the program - click here to read our 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
Knives Out - The smart, star-packed whodunnit
TRENDINGWIN KNIVES OUTThe smart, star-packed whodunnit
Flack: Season 1 - Anna Paquin's darkly comedic drama
TRENDINGWIN FLACK: SEASON 1Anna Paquin's darkly comedic drama
The Expanse: Season 3 - The terrifying next phase
TRENDINGWIN THE EXPANSE: SEASON 3The terrifying next phase
Suzi Q - Celebrating a female rock icon
TRENDINGSUZI QCelebrating a female rock icon
God of the Piano - A tale that tickles the ivories
TRENDINGGOD OF THE PIANOA tale that tickles the ivories
30 years since 'Steel Magnolias' - The female-led films that made me
TRENDING30 YEARS SINCE 'STEEL MAGNOLIAS'The female-led films that made me
Children of the Sea - Sunk by a soggy script
TRENDINGCHILDREN OF THE SEASunk by a soggy script
Jewish International Film Festival 2019 - The reviews
TRENDINGJEWISH INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL 2019The reviews
The Furies - A bloody well-executed gorefest
TRENDINGTHE FURIESA bloody well-executed gorefest
NT Live: Fleabag - The birth of Phoebe Waller-Bridge's masterwork
TRENDINGNT LIVE: FLEABAGThe birth of Phoebe Waller-Bridge's masterwork
Marriage Story - Simply extraordinary
TRENDINGMARRIAGE STORYSimply extraordinary
Charlie's Angels - A new generation of Angels, another barrel of fun
TRENDINGCHARLIE'S ANGELSA new generation of Angels, another barrel of fun
And Then We Danced - A passionate and remarkable classic in the making
TRENDINGAND THEN WE DANCEDA passionate and remarkable classic in the making
Fast & Furious: Hobbs & Shaw - Very furious, not so fast
TRENDINGFAST & FURIOUS: HOBBS & SHAWVery furious, not so fast
Standing Up For Sunny - A comedy without the comedy but very sweet
TRENDINGSTANDING UP FOR SUNNYA comedy without the comedy but very sweet
Judy & Punch - A dark fairytale from a fresh Australian voice
TRENDINGJUDY & PUNCHA dark fairytale from a fresh Australian voice
2040 - A hopeful look into our environmental future
TRENDING2040A hopeful look into our environmental future
Gallipoli - A powerful and important film remembered
TRENDINGGALLIPOLIA powerful and important film remembered
Here Comes Hell - High society British horror
TRENDINGHERE COMES HELLHigh society British horror
A Royal Affair - On frills and freedom
TRENDINGA ROYAL AFFAIROn frills and freedom
© 2011 - 2019 midnightproductions
All rights reserved

Support SWITCH | Disclaimer | Contact Us