Jul 14, 2019
Welcome back for another week of reviews. This week, we have five, count ‘em five, certified fresh films for your consideration, all of which are available on streaming services, including reviews from Garrett Wright of Two Views Movies and our good friend Andrew Campbell. We’ll also finally hear that postponed review from Amy Dobzynski, aka One Movie Spouse towards the end of the week, another Bollywood feature, which brings us to today’s feature.
If you’re wondering why I would re-run today’s film, you would need to thank the audience that supported the film on this very podcast. Last year, “Lust Stories” easily became our most popular episode ever, download over 6,000 times. Yes, that’s right, roughly one in every five downloads for the podcast. I won’t lie, when it happened, I thought this was it! We’re finally breaking out! And I rode that high all the way until we went back to regular download numbers. It still receives double digit downloads per month, and if any of you want to download it again, I won’t mind!
“Lust Stories” currently sits at 100% on Rotten Tomatoes, and has not yet been ranked by Metacritic. You can catch the film streaming exclusively on Netflix, along with their growing catalog of Netflix Original Bollywood features.
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Here we go!
Today’s movie is “Lust Stories” (2018), the Netflix Original Hindi anthology film dealing with love, sex and relationships in modern India. The film is a sequel to “Bombay Talkies” (2013), which is currently available on Netflix. Zoya Akhtar, Dibakar Banerjee, Karan Johar, and Anurag Kashyap direct the four shorts.
Anthology films can be hit or miss. It really all depends on what the goals of the anthology are. Some are pretty apparent, like going to see the collected Oscar shorts. Clear reason, clear expectations. Sometimes they are interconnected, other times completely separate stories but a shared theme. An anthology film works by fulfilling those goals, but they excel by finding the right combination of films that both compliment and contrast one another. “Lust Stories” does just that.
The theme is exploring the role of sex and relationships in contemporary India, an intersection of traditional and changing values about both topics. The United States experienced the same process, albeit from slightly different traditional values, and over a longer period than folks imagine. People often look to the 1960s and 1970s as the confines of that transition, but I grew up in the 1980s and 1990s in rural America, and I was surprised by how familiar these stories felt at times.
The trailer sold this anthology film as being about sex, but it also covers the variety of emotional effects on people and relationships. Each director has their own distinctive style and story to tell, simple in premise, but complicated in presentation. All four are well done, but I really enjoyed the comedy and frankness in Karan Johar’s finishing story. I also really enjoyed the camera work in Zoya Akhtar’s segment, using great stationary camera tricks to rapidly move the story along.
“Lust Stories” (2018) is a great anthology film that is sure to spark a great number of discussions in India. Each segment covers topics including open relationships, class differences, infidelity, premature ejaculation, and masturbation, some formerly taboo, others quietly permitted. Fans of anthology films, and folks interested in the changing landscape regarding sex and relationships in India, should definitely check out this film.