A mesmerizing narrative of heroin addicts in rainy Kolkata
I IS FOR INDIA
Thanks to the cinematography of Shreya Dev Dube and Ronny Sen’s photographers’ vision, Cat sticks is perhaps the most beautiful film I’ve seen in a while. Centered around a bunch of addicts looking for a hit of brown sugar (heroin) on a rainy night in Kolkata, it is not only stylistically flawless, but also devastating and incredibly smart, humane and funny. The fabric of the film is rich, there are characters of various social backgrounds and strata, and we get to look into the various aspects of heroin-adjacent Indian society: from a temple rehab center and its consequences to the dangers of transgender sex-work. And all of this shown flawlessly and very poetically. I think that the scene where two addicts are trying to locate a good vein on one’s body is one of the most powerful I’ve seen in a while, with two naked bodies so achingly transcendent and artfully choreographed, it still reverberates in a Caravaggiesque-way. How fragile yet how unique our bodies are, how easy to break them when the spirit gives in.
Cat Sticks, 2019
Director: Ronny Sen