Sundance Review: The Pool
by Alex Billington
January 23, 2007
One of Sundance's greatest features is the worldly selection of films in both its world dramatic competition section as well as non-competing films. The Pool, ironically in the US dramatic competition section, is about an 18-year-old kid (Venkatesh Chavan) living alone in Goa, India who every day climbs a tree to stare at a pool outside of a house. One day a man shows up at the house and Venkatesh begins following him and his attractive daughter around, where after discovering him, Nana Patekar, the owner of the home, invites him to work in his garden with him. The Pool is certainly a well-made film, shot entirely in India, but isn't that vastly enjoyable.
The director is oddly an American, Chris Smith, and yet the film is entirely in the Hindi language. It's purely a location-based drama that has hardly any music and spends its full 105 minutes following Venkatesh and his 11-year-old friend Jhangir Badshah around Panjim, Goa trying to make money and survive. The characters are not even named - each actor is a local who is just being himself, roaming around looking to make a rupee everywhere he can. Not the greatest film, but I respect the creation and the capabilities of the cast and crew.
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