In the lead up to the 7th Canadian Film Festival in Australia (August 2012), join us as we countdown the Top 100 Canadian Films of the past 30 years. We'll be posting one film a day leading up to Canada Day on July 1st 2012. Do you agree with our staff favourites? Let us know your thoughts!
#79 - Amal
This Canadian drama set in India follows the story of autorickshaw driver Amal - probably one of the nicest characters to ever grace a cinema screen.
Every day Amal takes people to and from their jobs, schools and appointments, treating everyone with equal respect and never charging more than the meter rate. His kindness and generosity make an impact on the lives of many of his passengers and the people around him, with genuine good will that's not so common in the world of tuk tuk drivers.
Amal makes a strong impression on one of his passengers - a shabbily dressed man whose fare Amal waives. The passenger turns out to be an eccentric millionaire, who rewrites his will to leave everything to the kind tuk tuk driver - but the millionaire's executor only has 30 days to find Amal before the fortune reverts to the man's greedy family. Meanwhile, Amal falls in love with another of his passengers, and sells his autorickshaw (his only income source) to pay for a street urchin's life-saving operation. Will Amal's kindness receive its karmic payback?
I really enjoyed this film and the window it offers into India. It's beautifully shot, filled with the colour and vibrancy of India, with a heartwarming central message that looks at personal values and whether money equals happiness. If you can suspend your cynicism for an hour and forty minutes and become lost in Amal's world, you might just see the world a little differently.
"There is nothing obvious about the story, which moves carefully and unpredictably, taking us through the streets of Delhi with a view from the back of a rickshaw" (Linda Barnard, Toronto Star)
Amal had its Australian premiere at the 4th Possible Worlds Film Festival in 2009.
To see the other films in the countdown so far, click here.