I will admit that there are times it's tough to be a film critic who focuses on the world of indie cinema.
The word spreads when you make a concerted effort to support the indie world, a fact that can be a beautiful thing but it can also prove to be incredibly overwhelming as, if we're being honest, it's not that rare for quantity to exist more than quality.
Then, occasionally, there's a little indie gem that crosses my desk unexpectedly. It's the kind of film where you just sit there thinking to yourself "How has this film not been discovered?"
"Capital I" is such a film.
Written and directed by Amartya Bhattacharyya, Capital I is an existential psychodrama revolving around a mysterious and unknown artist who doesn't really exist in reality. The film, already selected in the competition section of Festival du Film d’Asie du Sud Transgressif, Paris 2015, and also selected to be screened in the 'Independent Films' section at the 13th International Short and Independent Film Festival , Bangladesh, is a compelling and involving film from beginning to end. While much of the film, at least for Americans and this American film critic, will be experienced with subtitles, the film's aesthetics are so pleasing and story so satisfying that after a while you forget the subtitles are even there.
Every element of Capital I works, from Bhattacharyya's creative and experimental lensing to a woven in storyline involving the transformation of a young girl's mind involving both fantasy and reality and her strange relationship with a hallucinatory lesbian partner.
Kisaloy Roy's original music is sort of a blending of your standard psychological thriller music with hints of techno anda surprising degree of emotional resonance that is remarkably effective.
The ensemble cast is strong across the board, most notably Herjeit Alax, who is transparent and vulnerable and simply wonderful throughout. While I'm frequently not a fan of narration/voice-overs, Bhattacharyya uses it wisely and, in fact, supplies the voice of The Philosopher himself.
Capital I has every reason in the world to fail, yet it doesn't fail. Filmed on a stunningly low $400 (USD) budget, Capital I is stellar a case of a talented writer/filmmaker with a clarity of vision and an ability to communicate that vision to his cast and crew in such a way that the talent involved far transcends the film's meager budget. The film is visually appealing, narratively involving and thought-provoking, and nicely constructed by cast and crew.
Capital I is currently on the film festival circuit and one can only hope it arrives here in the U.S. in the near future.
© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic