Tag: Reality TV

Meet The Patels

January 7th, 2016 — 5:09am

Screen Shot 2016-01-06 at 8.30.35 PM****

Meet the Patels-nf

If ever a movie looked like a well done reality TV program, this is the one. It’s clearly  not a classical documentary film (although it won some awards for best doc) and certainly you don’t get the feeling that it is a scripted movie. This appears to be real people who are almost certainly living their real contemporary lives (at least so it seems). Ravi Patel is an actor and a film maker by profession, but this movie comes across as the story of his life. It is filmed mostly by his sister, Geeta Patel with whom he is living and is also a filmmaker. We would not be surprised if there were some redone lines or retakes and maybe even some suggested dialogue but it sure looks like captured real life.

Ravi has recently broken up with his girlfriend of two years and he has agreed to let his parents try to find him a girlfriend whom they hope he would marry. In other words, they are going to do the traditional Indian parental matchmaking approach. However, in order to do this they are going to have to work it out in the modern world. His parents who were born in India and came together with the traditional arranged marriage, now live in the United States. They speak English very well and seemed to be quite well-off. Their quest to make this match for their son begins with a trip to India. It seems that Patel is a common Indian name and there are thousands of Indian families who are somehow related at least with various similar cultural beliefs especially in regard to matchmaking. Friends and relatives (no doubt cousins, many times removed) attempt to find a suitable match of the right woman for Ravi. When things don’t work out in finding a girl for him, he then embarks on a tour of the United States to meet many of the young Indian women that have been searched out by his parents using various methods of communication including the Internet.

The cinematography appears to be cinema verite with many conversations in moving cars and during family get-togethers some of them out of focus or jerky. As this story plays out, we see the struggle of the parents and son who both love each other but yet are of two different generations. They have the same cultural values but each generation is coming from a different place.

Everybody seems quite genuine and there are times when Ravi is reflecting on his personal thoughts. These moments are important to the continuity of the film. He does this through a conversation with his sister, the cinematographer. Rather than just show a headshot of Ravi talking, they have created a simple cartoon caricature of Ravi who is shown talking while his voice is projected as coming from this figure. This technique is quite effective. In fact the entire movie is very effective. We developed great empathy for his parents and for him, as well as for the older sister who is still single herself. In the end we have the feeling that we have just binged on a full season of a great TV series. If anything, the movie seemed to end abruptly and we were ready for season two. (2015)

Comment » | 4 Stars, Documentary


March 8th, 2013 — 3:09am


Reality sp –  To fully appreciate this film, you have to suspend any tendency that you might have to diagnose significant mental illness, which is somewhat difficult for us to do. This Italian Fellinisque film is directed and co written by Matteo Garrone and it won second prize behind Amour at the Cannes Film Festival. It supposedly is based on a true story which happened to a relative of the Director who became obsessed with the Italian version of the TV reality show Big Brother . He is initially urged by his friends and family to try out to audition for the show where participants become avidly followed as heros  by the mass viewing audience as they live in a beautiful luxurious house and frolic with the others on the show. The main character Luciano (Aniello Arena) is married with two children and has a fish store in Napoli. He becomes convinced that he is on the verge of being chosen for this show and is being checked out by the producers who may be secretly observing him.  In what appears to be a paranoid delusion he begins to give away many of his possessions to people who are down and out,  to the consternation of his loving wife (Loredana Simioli) and other family members.  As he spirals deeper and deeper into this fantasy, if we can put aside our desire to put him into a psychiatric hospital, we perhaps can understand that we are being presented with a satiric  social commentary on the power of mass media, in particular, reality TV, on contemporary life. The background score by veteran movie composer Alexandre Desplat helps to create the mood which may help you lose your reality and appreciate the message of this film. (2013)

Comment » | 3 Stars, Comedy, Drama, Foreign

Back to top