Film Review: Festival of Lights

Director Shundell Prasad’s premiere narrative film Festival of Lights has at its heart an intriguing story that is rich with authentic cultural flavors of the small South American nation of Guyana which makes it all the more unfortunate that it falls short in some of the fundamentals such as acting and editing.  The film follows the story of Reshma (Melinda Shankar),  a young girl who must leave her father Vishnu (Jimi Mistry) behind to escape growing tensions in Guyana in the early 1980’s by traveling to New York with her mother Meena (Ritu Singh Pande) who soon after remarries a wealthy American named Adem (Aidan Quinn) and loses touch with her culture, leading Reshma, who grows into a troubled adolescent, to try to reconnect with her past.

The film has a good deal going for it, notably the Guyanese facets and some beautiful cinematography, but the plot begins to drag into the formulaic and overly-convenient conclusion as the supporting cast competes for Golden Raspberry awards.  The sights and sounds have promise along with the questions raised about immigration, but they never get developed and it all falls short.

Festival of Lights is now in select theaters.

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About Tim Needles

Tim Needles is an artist, photographer, humorist, and writer from Long Island, NY. His writing and art work has been seen in multiple exhibitions and publications around New York as well as the Photographer’s Forum, French Photo, the New York Times, and LI Pulse magazine. He is also an educator and currently teaches art and film at Smithtown, NY and as an Education Leader for Adobe. He was recently the recipient of the Robert Rauschenberg Award in Washington DC and serves as the director of Strictly Students, a non-for-profit group for media and education. His work can be seen on his website: www.timneedles.com
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