Films & Schedules

  • Machan

  • Uberto Pasolini

Sri Lanka/Italy/Germany
109 minutes

Production Company:
Studio Urania srl/Studio Babelsberg GmbH/Shakthi Films
Prasanna Vithanage, Conchita Airoldi, Uberto Pasolini
Ruwanthie de Chickera, Uberto Pasolini
Production Designer:
Errol Kelly
Stefano Falivene
Masahiro Hirakubo
Anandar Chandrahasan
Stephen Warbeck, Lakshman Joseph de Saram
Principal Cast: Dharmapriya Dias, Gihan de Chickera, Dharshan Dharmaraj, Mahendra Perera

International Sales Agent:
Beta Cinema

Saturday September 0603:45PM SCOTIABANK THEATRE 1 Add Film to MyTIFF Filmlist
Monday September 0809:00PM VARSITY 1 Add Film to MyTIFF Filmlist
Saturday September 1309:15AM SCOTIABANK THEATRE 2 Best Bet Add Film to MyTIFF Filmlist

This lighthearted ensemble work looks at the extreme measures people will take to better their fortunes. The setting is Colombo, Sri Lanka, a country where tourists are irresistibly drawn to the beauty while many locals are eager to escape.

Stanley, a fruit seller with a penchant for failed schemes, is behind on his bills and constantly dodging creditors. Stanley's sister plans to leave her family to work as a maid in the Middle East. His kid brother sees petty crime as a better prospect than school. His handsome friend sells gigolo services to female tourists. Anything to get by. Stanley dreams of going abroad, where, he muses, “Everything will be new; even I'll be new.”

When he learns that Germany will invite international teams to a handball competition in Bavaria, he hatches a scheme. None of his friends know the game (which is played like a mix between soccer and basketball), but that doesn't prevent Stanley from recruiting them into his new Sri Lankan National Handball Federation as a pretense to get German visas.

Stanley and his cronies devote zero attention to actually practising handball, since their plan is to land in Germany and escape before playing. They spend their time gambling and raising funds through dubious activities, but as the scam gets closer to its realization, tensions mount within the team. What will await them in Germany? Will they all be thrown in jail before they even arrive?

It makes sense that first-time director Uberto Pasolini previously worked as a producer on The Full Monty, as Machan shares a sensibility with that tale of down-and-outers trying to make good. Pasolini proves skilful at keeping the members of his large cast of characters distinct from one another. Deftly balancing drama and comedy throughout the story, he wraps serious observations about the global economy inside an absurdist tale. Even if you've never heard of handball, this group of underdogs is bound to become your favourite team.

Cameron Bailey

Uberto Pasolini was born in Rome. He worked as a producer in the British film industry for many years, producing films like Palookaville (95), The Full Monty (97) and The Emperor’s New Clothes (01). Machan (08) is his directorial debut.

Cadillac People's Choice Award