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While researching for a documentary about her idol Charlie Chaplin, Kathryn Millard discovered the Charlie Circle of Adipur, India, where on Charlie's boirthday each year, the town throws a party. Home to the world's largest population of Charlie Chaplin impersonators, the mad parties symbolise resilience and hope - the very characteristics of the Tramp.

Review by Andrew L. Urban:
The unusually blue eyed Indian Doctor Aswani founded the Charlie Circle in Adipur in 1983 - which filmmaker Kathryn Millard discovered accidentally during her research for a Chaplin doco. She was intrigued by the longevity of the cult of Charlie Chaplin, and this club is clear evidence that it's not so much a cult as a virus. The whole town is infected, and perhaps only marginally more so than the entire world.

It says something of the enduring legacy of the Tramp that Millard was given the task of making the special cake to celebrate Chaplin's 116th birthday. This task forms the spine of the doco and she has used her filmmaking skills well to explore the linked phenomena of Chaplin and the poor village with a Charlie fetish.

Along the way we meet Dr Aswani, who reveals that one of his most common cures is giving his patients a copy of a Chaplin movie. Living proof, if we are to believe him, that laughter is indeed the best medicine. Indeed, Chaplin's powerful effect of making people happy has spurred Aswani to make Chaplin his god, complete with a little altar and Chaplin figurines - sharing space with Krishna. (Elvis fan will empathise...)

It was Gold Rush that bewitched him, and the film is the centrepiece of all celebrations.

But along the way, Millard touches on Chaplin's global appeal, and we see how Chaplin's everyman character is the glue that unites his fans and provides the empathy they need to cope with life. Like Charlie, many are crying inside, struggling to survive, but Charlie gives them his cane to lean on. And his smile.

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(Aust, 2010)

CAST: Documentary

NARRATION: Kathryn Millard

PRODUCER: Kathryn Millard

DIRECTOR: Kathryn Millard

SCRIPT: Kathryn Millard

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Himman Dhimaji (Adipur), Mrinal Desai (Mumbai), Steve Macdonald (Sydney)

EDITOR: Andrew Soo

MUSIC: Elena Kats Chernin, Carl Dewhurst, Shenton Gregory, Paul Cutlin, James Greening

RUNNING TIME: 74 minutes


AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: NSW -Sydney Chauvel: Qld - Regent Graceville: December 2, 2010 (other cities to follow)

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