RKS Film 2023: Slamdance Presents “The Underbug”

Your first question may be what is “Slamdance”. It sounds like a play on “Sundance” doesn’t it? Slamdance is a community, a year-round experience, and a statement in which everyone is invited to take part. The first Slamdance Film Festival was held in 1995 by a wild bunch of filmmakers who were tired of relying on a large, oblique system to showcase their work. Since then, Slamdance has proven year after year that independent grassroots communities can take risks on bold talent and launch careers that change the industry. Its artist-led community continues to discover and nurture diverse, international creators through various programs throughout the year, focusing on new writers, digital and interactive art, grants and mentorship, DIY film education, film screenings and of course, the Slamdance Film Festival.

“The Underbug” is an Indian film in Hindi with English subtitles. It is a combination of a thriller and a horror film.

The film starts with closeups of bugs in a forest. Once into the film the “bug focus” makes some sense. Humanity is but a collection of bugs in their own world.

A man emerges from the forest bruised and bloodied. He enters a house which symbolizes British colonialism as it is not in architecture or contents a house one might expect in India. The man limps in the house and a radio is broadcasting about Independence Day and that there have been some riots. Between whom one can conjecture between Muslims and Hindus. Another man walks into the house also bloodied. A wall of suspicion swells up between the men each probing the other if they are Hindu or Muslim. We never do find the answer to that.

At one moment the men are at each other’s throats then managing to co-exist. The film exposes the effects of ethnic violence and on a broad level as solely opposed to the context of Indian society and history. Each ethnic group’s hatred relies on suspicions and stereotypes but when real contact is established between the groups peace can prevail as delicate as it may be.

You can view the film as totally devoid of political context and if you like categorize it as a thriller and horror film but those bugs were in the film for a purpose. It causes you to think why and you can go as deep or shallow as you wish! Yes is that little girl that appears a symbol of British imperialism? See what I mean.

The film has its world premiere at Slamdance on 21January2023 and plays again January 23rd in Park City Utah.

You can see the trailer here https://vimeo.com/783904227

RKS 2023 Film Rating 86/100.

Published by Robert K Stephen (CSW)

Robert K Stephen writes about food ,drink, travel, film, and lifestyle issues. He also has published serialized novels "Life at Megacorp", "Virus # 26, "Reggie the Egyptian Rescue Dog" and "The Penniless Pensioner" Robert was the first associate member of the Wine Writers’ Circle of Canada. He also holds a Mindfulness Certification from the University of Leiden and the University of Toronto. Be it Spanish cured meat, dried fruit, BBQ, or recycled bamboo place mats, Robert endeavours to escape the mundane, which is why he has established this publication. His motto is, "Have Story, Will Write."

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