Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.5
USA, 2005. Noruz Films, Flip Side Film. Screenplay by Ramin Bahrani. Cinematography by Michael Simmonds. Produced by Ramin Bahrani, Pradip Ghosh. Music by Peyman Yazdanian. Production Design by Charles Dafler. Costume Design by Elena Kouvaros. Film Editing by Ramin Bahrani.
Ahmad Razvi is excellent as a once-famous rock star in Pakistan who now operates a coffee and donut stand on a Manhattan street corner. Scenes of peaceful, almost meditative process, watching him set up his stand every day and, tired after a grueling day of work, pull it back to the storage garage every night lull one into a steady rhythm as bits and pieces of his experience and background are revealed: he was once married but his wife has passed away, his son lives with his in-laws who have absolutely no kindness to offer him and he has purchased a new, fancier stand in an effort to make more money and get a place where he and his son can live together full time. He makes the acquaintance of a fellow kiosk worker (Leticia Dolera), a girl from Spain who sells newspapers near him, and befriends a slick, professional customer (Charles Daniel Sandoval) who is a fellow Pakistani and hires Razvi to do some handyman jobs around his place for extra cash. Razvi seems to have no illusion about Sandoval’s personality, his jovial manner and insistence on helping Razvi resurrect his singing career are clearly the false surface of a much more volatile personality, but as the new friend reveals his true self it coincides with things becoming more difficult and desperate for Razvi, who in the end turns desperate when things take a devastating turn. Meanwhile, Dolera is the woman in the middle of this tension, with Razvi’s feelings for her just one of aspects of this impressively subtle film that you can sense but never comfortably put your finger on.