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The Bengali Detective

Fox Searchlight continues it buying streak at Sundance Film Festival picking up Gavin Wiesen’s “Homework”and grabbing the remake rights to Philip Cox’s “The Bengali Detective.”

“Homework,” from first-time director Gavin Wiesen stars Freddie Highmore, Emma Roberts, Michael Angarano, Elizabeth Reaser, Rita Wilson, and Blair Underwood.

George (Freddie Highmore), a smart teenage loner, has made it to his senior year despite the fact that he has never completed an assignment. Enter Sally (Emma Roberts), the school beauty, who hides her melancholy behind the protective mask of popularity. An unlikely connection blooms as these kindred spirits bond over their troubled parental relationships. With his education hanging by a thread, George concedes to let Dustin mentor him. Dustin is a successful artist, and he’s 25 years old—finally, someone George can respect! With Sally and Dustin by his side, George blossoms and dares to look toward the future. But George soon learns that life and love have a way of dashing dreams as rites of passage and mounds of homework threaten to do him in on the eve of his graduation.

Buoyed by a gifted cast, Gavin Wiesen’s accomplished first feature is a winningly perceptive drama that breathes fresh life into the beloved coming-of-age genre. | Sundance Film Festival

The Bengali Detective is a feature documentary, that looks at the criminal underworld of Calcutta, through the eyes of private investigator Rajesh Ji.

In response to police corruption, the private detective business has become increasingly common in India. The Bengali Detective follows the life of detective Rajesh Ji, who, along with his ragtag team of assistants, investigates cases ranging from counterfeit hair products to a brutal triple murder. When Rajesh is not sleuthing, he has big dreams of competing on a televised national talent show, so he and his detective gang form a dance troupe—which must be seen to be believed—and rehearse for their big audition.

Set in chaotic Kolkata, formerly known as Calcutta, the film is shot with atmosphere and immediacy, complementing the mystery and suspense of the investigations. Director Philip Cox finds a riveting subject in Rajesh. He’s all at once a showman, a dedicated husband, and a humanitarian. The Bengali Detective is a layered, wildly entertaining film: a poignant profile of a delightful character, a gripping detective narrative, and a detailed look at the middle class in contemporary India. | Sundance Film Festival

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