“Festival of Lights”: Grown Up and Going Back to Guyana

 ‘Festival of Lights,’ on Guyanese Immigrants in New York, is reviewed by NEIL GENZLINGER for The New York Times.

“Festival of Lights” seeks to illuminate an immigrant world we don’t hear much about: people who have fled the South American country of Guyana seeking a better life in New York. But the film, by Shundell Prasad, seems reluctant to spend much time in or on Guyana, and so it ends up being largely just another story about a rebellious American teenager.

Reshma (Melinda Shankar) leaves Guyana when still a child after the country’s violence (which is not explained) hits too close to home. Her mother (Ritu Singh Pande) brings her to New York, but her father (Jimi Mistry) is forced to stay behind, promising to join them later. He never does, and when Reshma grows up, she returns to Guyana to look for him. She finds him in jail, where he has been for years for reasons explained only vaguely.

Her trip doesn’t provide much detail about the country or its problems, just assorted hints that corruption and injustice are endemic. The core of the movie ends up being Reshma’s growing-up years in New York, which, as teenage years go, are fairly generic melodrama.

“Festival of Lights” is rated PG-13 (Parents strongly cautioned) for violence, including a sexual assault.

For the original report go to http://movies.nytimes.com/2012/11/02/movies/festival-of-lights-on-guyanese-immigrants-in-new-york.html

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