In my recent list of “good cross-cultural” movies, I forgot to mention the spectacular film, Slumdog Millionaire. Oscar gave me a helpful reminder by nominating the film for 10 of its awards.
It’s about three impoverished Indian children who struggle to survive and reach adulthood with their spirits and bodies intact. The “Millionaire” part comes in when one of the trio, as a young adult, lands a spot on the native version of “Who Wants to be a Millionaire.” The young man does very well, which leads to suspicion. He tells the story of his life in flashbacks. This is not a story about becoming a millionaire, but about fighting for one’s loved ones, no matter what. If features very fine acting and directing.
What’s culturally interesting about the film is that it’s an English film set and filmed in India, mostly in English, and its gimmick is an international game show. Wikipedia notes about the game show, “The format is owned and licensed by the Japanese production company Sony Pictures Television International.” So it is a truly global film.
My only minor gripe with the movie is that it shows some of the economic development of India without indicating why it happened. But that’s background.
Wiki also notes the film had a budget of $15 million, yet it is phenomenally better than many films that cost ten times more.