CROW'S EGG, THE
Two mischievous and resourceful brothers live in poverty in a Chennai slum but find joy in each other and their family and friends. When the brothers see an ad for pizza, which coincides with the opening of a nearby pizza shop, they are determined to taste this magical food for the very first time. So begins a great adventure, with triumphs and setbacks, as the industrious brothers try to raise the cash to fund their wish.
Review by Louise Keller:
Deceptively simple, this charming film about dreams evolves in the most unexpected way, endearing us its two young slum boy protagonists in the process. In his writing and directing debut, M. Manikandan, who also did the cinematography, has created a wonderful film that gets up a head of steam in the slums of Chennai in South India. Beyond its central story, Manikandan has artfully incorporated potent and topical themes of food globalization and the disparity between the rich and the poor. While it may not have the slick appeal of Danny Boyle's Oscar-winning Slumdog Millionaire, the film enjoys similar rewards.
The film begins slowly, firmly establishing the reality and environment in which the two pre-teen brothers (Ramesh, Ramesh Thilaganathan) live. Their father is in jail; their mother can't afford to send them to school; the boys collect coal from the passing goods train to earn 3 meagre rupees per kilo. Swallowing the yolk of the crow's egg, stolen from the bird's nest is a welcome supplement to their daily diet; they decide to call themselves Little Crow's Egg and Big Crow's Egg, inspired by the man who calls himself Fruit Juice. The boys' broad white smiles is a tonic, indicative of their mischief-filled life.
Things suddenly change when the crow's nest is gone as the tree is cut down. A pizza restaurant is built; the slum kids have their noses pressed against the window watching a celebrity eat a piece of this mysterious and glamorous food that costs 300 rupees - a month's wages for the two boys. The first time they see a pizza close up, their eyes are filled with wonder. Ah yes! Now it is a pizza about which they dream day and night. How can they earn and save enough money to buy one?
Thus begins the rollercoaster ride in which the boys find innovative ways to make money. But everything is harder than they think and other issues need to resolve. All the characters have a part to play - the father in jail, the grandmother who eats and sleeps, the little puppy dog, the kids with a mobile phone, the new television and the con artists withy entrepreneurial spirit looking to make a quick fortune.
Music is cleverly used as illustration to portray thoughts and ideas and just when we think the dream of pizza is floating away above the clouds, Manikandan lassoes the exposition and takes it in a different direction. The resolution is wonderful; the payoff complete.
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CROW'S EGG, THE (PG)
CAST: Ramesh, J, Vignesh, Iyshwarya Rajesh, Ramesh Thilak, Joe Mallori, Babu Antony, Yogi Babu
PRODUCER: Dhanush Kastooriraja, Vetri Maraan
DIRECTOR: M Manikandan
SCRIPT: M. Manikandan
CINEMATOGRAPHER: M. Manikandan
EDITOR: Kishore Te
MUSIC: G .V. Prakash Kumar
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Not credited
RUNNING TIME: 99 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Transmission
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: November 19, 2015