Keep up-to-date on your favourite artists and movies, track gig and release dates, and join in the conversation.
We look at 'Fantasia' in a brand new episode of Ink & Paint - and don't forget to subscribe to our podcast!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




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.

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
Romantic Road - Falling in love with India, the Rolls Royce and each other
TRENDINGROMANTIC ROADFalling in love with India, the Rolls Royce and each other
The Personal History of David Copperfield - Charles Dickens' classic reimagined through a comedic lens
TRENDINGWIN THE PERSONAL HISTORY OF DAVID COPPERFIELDCharles Dickens' classic reimagined through a comedic lens
Over the Limit - A real-life psychological thriller
TRENDINGOVER THE LIMITA real-life psychological thriller
Good Girls: Season 2 - It's never been so good to be bad
TRENDINGWIN GOOD GIRLS: SEASON 2It's never been so good to be bad
Agatha Christie’s Marple: Series 1-3 - The classic crime novels come to life
TRENDINGWIN AGATHA CHRISTIE’S MARPLE: SERIES 1-3The classic crime novels come to life
xXx: Return Of Xander Cage - The good, the bad and the ugly
TRENDINGxXx: RETURN OF XANDER CAGEThe good, the bad and the ugly
God of the Piano - A tale that tickles the ivories
TRENDINGGOD OF THE PIANOA tale that tickles the ivories
About A Boy - All grown up 15 years on
TRENDINGABOUT A BOYAll grown up 15 years on
The Violin Player - Sex and strings
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?
The Boys Who Said No! - Powering change through non-violence
TRENDINGTHE BOYS WHO SAID NO!Powering change through non-violence
Top End Wedding - Outback fantastic
Andrey Tarkovsky. A Cinema Prayer - Remembering a true master of film
TRENDINGANDREY TARKOVSKY. A CINEMA PRAYERRemembering a true master of film
River's Edge - The kids aren't alright
TRENDINGRIVER'S EDGEThe kids aren't alright
In My Blood It Runs - An eye-opening tale of struggling Indigenous youth
TRENDINGIN MY BLOOD IT RUNSAn eye-opening tale of struggling Indigenous youth
Dark Place - An unsettling Indigenous horror anthology
TRENDINGDARK PLACEAn unsettling Indigenous horror anthology
Buffy - A 20th anniversary love letter
TRENDINGBUFFYA 20th anniversary love letter
Leaving Allen Street - Following residents out of institutional care and into our hearts
TRENDINGLEAVING ALLEN STREETFollowing residents out of institutional care and into our hearts
The Odd Family: Zombie on Sale - An extremely silly zomedy
Beyond The River - An inspirational sporting journey
TRENDINGBEYOND THE RIVERAn inspirational sporting journey
© 2011 - 2020 midnightproductions
All rights reserved

Support SWITCH | Disclaimer | Contact Us