Sunday, February 22, 2009

Quick thoughts on Slumdog Millionaire

Wow. Slumdog Millionaire won 8 Oscars tonight, including Best Picture.

I think it's a great development for movies as a whole, even though I'm not entirely sure it was literally the Best Picture. As films go, I thought Dark Knight and Wall-E were better, and I haven't even see Benjamin Button, Milk, and a few others yet.

But, at a larger level, I think it deserved the award (and all the others it got) because it pushed the envelope and hopefully has ushered in a new era in film-making. It proved that America has an appetite and curiosity for cultures other than it's own. While other movies have been based in foreign countries, Slumdog truly broke ground by focusing so intimately on a way of life that is so different from that which we have here in America. And what's more is that Americans were genuinely interested. The movie became a hit not because it was that well made (some plot elements were sketchy) or had fantastic acting (I'm sure I wasn't the only one to get some cheesy Hindi movie vibes) but because it brought to life a culture and people in a way that fascinated viewers but also allowed them to relate to it at some level.

Aside from the pride of seeing a movie from the land of my birth attract such a wide following and critical acclaim, Slumdog appealed to me most for this very reason. Each culture is to be celebrated, and I really hope Slumdog's success encourages a more international and eclectic side of Hollywood. Perhaps it's naive or premature, but I honestly believe the movie could mark a turning point in the types of movies that get green lit, and we could see an increased number of foreign culture-focused films come out of Tinseltown.

The American people, it seems, are perhaps not as shallow and self-centered as pop culture might have you believe...

(As always with this blog, and especially now that I'm venturing to realms about which I honestly have no clue, you probably want to take the above with a huge grain of salt. I watch about 5 movies a year. It just strikes me as ridiculous/awesome that a movie so about India won so many Oscars and has gotten so much national attention. Americans seem to be fascinated with Indian people (makes sense, we're sort of awesome), but I think/hope it also reflects a larger fascination with the world as a whole...)


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