Fantasia 2015: ‘Sunrise’ tackles the issue of India’s missing children

- Advertisement -


Written and directed by Partho Sen-Gupta
India, 2014

The despair of loss weighs down Joshi in Sunrise. Joshi works as an agent in the social services of a Mumbai police station. He handles reports of lost and trafficked children, rarely able to effect any meaningful change. After fruitless days at work, he returns to his dark apartment and his heartbroken wife who cannot accept the loss of their grade school daughter. A strange shadow figure haunts Joshi, leading him night after night to a strange club called ‘Paradise’.

With very few words, so much is conveyed in Partho Sen-Gupta’s sophomore film. Character is built through environment and performance. The film’s early scenes capture a world of great detail, brimming with textures and sounds. Shot almost entirely at night, the sparseness of light and the heavy rains of the monsoons focus our attention and transform the city into a mythical labyrinth. Adil Hussain guides us through these streets, his performance as Joshi commanding our attention – he is a man of who conveys enormous empathy. His helplessness pervades the film and never quite dissipates.

Faced with institutional failures and pervasive abuse, Joshi’s victories are hollow. As a political film Sunrise is effective, conveying the specific issue of child kidnapping (the film ends with the statistic that 100,000 children are kidnapped every year in India) but also the social circumstances that allow that to happen. The layers of violations on children’s autonomy and safety are established throughout, as the social services charged with protecting children treat them as property rather than human beings. The need to avenge the death and kidnapping of children is more akin to the treatment of stolen items.

A sixteen year old boy comes to the station night after night: He wants help from the police. His motive is not immediately clear, though one night he is beaten badly. The officer tries to send him off, it is not their business that his father beat him. The eventual reveal of why the boy was so persistent to find help is horrifying. While there are some clear villains in the film, men and women who physically and sexually abuse children, what is most jarring is how passively the exploitation of children is treated.

As Joshi navigates this world, isolated by his own sense of empathy and loss, his gaze transforms Mumbai into a living nightmare. With scenes akin to the great works of German expressionism and the master of the subconscious, David Lynch, Sunrise is a powerful work of psychological distress. The Paradise club is the centerpiece of the film’s dream world and is framed with varying coloured gels and an unnerving sense of deja vu. Situated between reality and dream, Paradise is where Joshi is faced with his greatest fears.

Partho Sen-Gupta is part of a rising movement within India of independent, politically minded filmmakers. More than anything else, Sunrise shows the promise of an artist with a great eye and a strong sense of the now. The politics of Sunrise don’t outweigh the story, and perhaps most importantly, don’t condescend to the audience.

Sunrise is screening at Fantasia International Film Festival on August 1st at 17:15

10 Different Types of Financial Aid
Top 10 Richest American Idols
V-Moda Crossfade Wireless
The 5 Most Expensive Wireless Headphones: Ultimate Auditory Clarity
Business man watching business go bankrupt
25 Iconic Companies that Filed for Bankruptcy
A Saxophonist with a Saxophone in His Hands
12 Different Types of Saxophones
genre titles mash up
The 13 Types of Movies You Can Choose From (Genres)
Crowd enjoying a concert
19 Types of Entertainment – What Do You Like Doing?
Jennifer Lopez Wearing a Black Dress
25 Celebrities Who Don’t Age – What’s Their Secret?
Zucchini on a Cutting Board
14 Different Types of Zucchini for All Kinds of Dishes
different ice cream
12 Types of Ice Cream (All Forms, Shapes and Options with Examples)
Powdered Sugar in a Bowl and Scoop
10 Different Types of Sugar – I Bet You Don’t Know Them All
Different types of shrimp
17 Different Types of Shrimp that You Can Eat (or Not)
Several semi trucks on the highway
19 Different Types of Trucks – Do You Know Them All?
Airplane soaring through the air
19 Different Types of Airplanes that Dominate the Skies
Cars lined up on the road
26 Types of Cars You Can Choose From for Your Ride
Man Riding Bicycle
11 Types of Bicycles – Do You Know Them All?
15 Different Types of Goggles
13 Different Types of Dumbbells
15 Awesome Alternatives to Skateboards (Plus Interesting Facts)
Baseball player hitting ball
10 Types of Baseball Bats that Rip the Leather Off the Ball
man holding smartphone with vintage case
11 Types of Cell Phone Cases and Covers to Protect Your Expensive Smartphone
Black and Red Tablet Covers
8 Types of Tablet Cases for Kids, Protection, and Convenience
Camera, lenses and other photography equipments.
45 of the Best Online Photography and Camera Stores
9 Different Types of Website Hosting