Shalim is one of the 10,000 rickshaw drivers who pull their live cargo barefoot through the streets of Calcutta. At 50, the tawny Shalim is by far not the oldest: his colleague and friend Husein is already 75. South Korean director Seong-Gyou Lee befriended Salim and spent a long time following him, literally in his footsteps. Negotiating his way through the merciless traffic in the overcrowded and colorful Calcutta, where trains regurgitate new fortune-hunters on a daily basis. Shalim works hard for his family and his dream: to buy a motorized rickshaw, so that he can earn better money and ultimately purchase a house. But reality is tough, and sickness in his family ensures that his hard-earned money melts like snow under a warm sun. My Barefoot Friend reveals how the penniless rickshaw drivers, who also live under the threat of a law that would forbid their profession altogether, do their utmost to stay afloat in a merciless society. Their friendships, dreams and families are what keep them going. Besides being a portrait of Shalim and his colleagues, the film offers a delightful look at a major city that exerts an irresistible attraction on both Indians and foreigners, despite all its problems.
Wybrane nagrody i festiwale /Selected festivals and awards: 2010 – MFF Amsterdam/IDFA
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