The Last Film Show

In Last Film Show (Chhello Show in the Gujarati language) nine-year-old Samay spends an entire summer watching films from the projection booth of a rundown movie theater in his small village. His obsession with movies on the big screen accelerates when the theater converts from 35 mm. reels of film to digital technology.

Join us on Sunday, May 21, 2023, at 10 a.m. for Last Film Show (Chhello Show) as Cinema Art Bethesda concludes this season of screenings and discussions at the Landmark Bethesda Row Cinema.  As always, coffee/tea and bagels/cream cheese will be provided starting at 9:30 am.  Admission is $15 per person (cash or checks only) for the entire program.

Inspired by director Pan Nalin’s own childhood, Last Film Show follows the dreams and aspirations of a 9-year-old Samay, who – against his father’s wishes – visits the local rundown theater in his small Indian village. Samay befriends the projectionist, who, in exchange for his lunch box, lets him watch movies for free. Samay quickly figures out that stories become light, light becomes films, and films become dreams. So with his wild gang of friends, they create an innovative hack and jubilantly succeed in making a film projection apparatus.

The cast consists mostly of child actors, enhancing the message of hope and innocence while observing the culture (and the ending of an era) of single-screen cinemas in India. Last Film Show has been compared to the classic Cinema Paradiso for portraying how a young enthusiast can become enchanted with the creative possibilities of film. It has been called “an ethereal take on the magic of movies.”

Last Film Show runs 1 hour 50 minutes. Dialogue in Gujarati with English subtitles.


More Details about Last Film Show

Distributor:  Samuel Goldwyn Films

IMDB Information:

Rotten Tomatoes Score:  Tomatometer 93%   Audience Score 86%

Festivals and Awards

20th Tribeca Festival: Nominated for Audience Award in the Narrative category

11th Beijing International Festival: nominated for Tiantan Awards

44th Mill Valley Film Festival:  won Audience Award, World Cinema

23rd Buenos Aires International Festival of Independent Cinema: nominated for Best Feature Film-Avante-Garde and Genre

95th Oscars (AMPAS): India’s submission for International Film


Hollywood Reporter    Sheri Linden

Vibrant Ode to Cinema: “Last Film Show embraces something far messier and more vital than teachable moments. It’s a love song to movies, yes, but it’s brimming with life.”

Screen International Namrata Joshi

“Cannily mixes the nostalgic celebration of movies like Giuseppe Tornatore’s Cinema Paradiso with the feel-good underdog trope of innumerable films best highlighted by Danny Boyle’s Slumdog Millionaire.”

The Cinematic Reel David Gonzalez

“Pan Nalin’s Last Film Show celebrates cinema and the cinematic experience. A film that captures the emotional impact film can have on someone and it’s one of the most beautiful films of the year so far.”

Splice Today Stephen Silver

“Overcomes its association with the ‘love letter to cinema’ subgenre, and its inherent corniness, by getting creative with the premise.”