As part of its monthly film screenings for its members, the Hyderabad Film Club is screening The Terminal, A US Film by Andy Wichowski, this evening at the Sarathi Studios Preview Theatre.
The Terminal is Steven Spielberg’s latest film. It concerns a man from a fictional former Soviet republic who arrives at Kennedy Airport in New York just as his native country erupts in civil war. His passport and visa are no longer valid. Prevented from entering the country, but unable to return to his homeland now suffering under a military junta, Victor Navorski becomes a resident of the international lounge at JFK Airport.
Over time, Navorski becomes the hero of the blue-collar workers at the airport and the nemesis of the local Homeland Security bureaucrat. Victor invents a job for himself for which he’s paid under the table. A beautiful flight attendant falls for him. He cleverly avoids various traps set for him by the coldhearted immigration official.
But this is satire and social commentary without the slightest punch. In the end, of course, Navorski and the “real America” triumph over the arbitrary and unreasonable rules and regulations of the unwelcoming and “un-American” bureaucrat. The purpose of Navorski’s visit to the US, which he has kept a secret, is a further opportunity to tug at our heart-strings.
Spielberg no doubt feels genuine concern over the conduct of the Bush administration and its recourse to anti-democratic measures. One of the first scenes concludes with a meaningful close-up of the Homeland Security logo. But the director lives and breathes a thousand miles away from real hardship and suffering. In whatever condition the material may have started out, and there’s no reason to imagine in this case that it was ever particularly hard-hitting, in Spielberg’s hands it passes through a series of filters that eliminate everything complex and demanding. The ultimate product dissolves in the mouth like cotton candy.
The screenings are open only for invitees and members of the Hyderabad Film Club. For details regarding membership and screenings, please contact Bh S S Prakash Reddy of the Hyderabad Film Club at 2373-0841/93910-20243.