Blinded by the Light

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United Kingdom | 2019 | 114 minutes | Gurinder Chadha

In this crowd-pleasing comedy from Gurinder Chadha (Bend it Like Beckham), a Pakistani teen living in Thatcher’s Britain has his world blown open when he discovers the music of Bruce Springsteen.

"Gurinder Chadha's best movie since 'Bend It Like Beckham"—Variety

During the doldrums of the Thatcher years, there's not much for a bright teenager to do in the drab factory town of Luton, England, except plot how to get out. It's worse if you, like Javed (Viveik Kalra), are pressured by your embittered workaholic father, worse still if you're Pakistani and menaced by racist skinheads. But when a friend gives Javed a Bruce Springsteen mixtape, he suddenly discovers that although he wasn't born in the U.S.A., he was definitely born to run—and "Dancing in the Dark" explodes onto the soundtrack (and the lyrics onto the screen) for a set piece somewhere between an '80s music video and a Bollywood production number. Javed's schoolmates are more interested in dandyish New Wave, but The Boss's music does catch the ear of his politically conscious crush Eliza, and it eventually inspires Javed to approach her, to write, and to believe in himself. Gurinder Chadha (Bend it Like Beckham) based her film on Greetings from Bury Park, a memoir by journalist and screenwriter Sarfraz Manzoor, and cast it in the crowd-pleasing mode of other music-equals-freedom uplifters like Say Anything..., High Fidelity, or Footloose. (Stay through the credits and hear "I'll Stand By You Always," which Springsteen wrote for Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone but which Chris Columbus wasn't able to use.)

Director Biography
Born in Kenya and raised in London, Gurinder Chadha is an independent British filmmaker whose seven award-winning films have won acclaim at festivals, broken UK box office records, and received nominations from the Golden Globes, BAFTA, European Film Academy, and The Writers Guild of America. With a start as a news reporter and documentarian, creating work for the BBC, Chadha won international acclaim for her third feature, the romantic comedy Bend it Like Beckham (2002). Described by the British Film Institute as "one of the UK's most respected filmmakers," Chadha's most recent turn as director, writer, and producer—Blinded by the Light —premiered at Sundance Film Festival and received a standing ovation.

Sponsored by Lagunitas Brewing Company

  • Director: Gurinder Chadha
  • Principal Cast: Viveik Kalra, Hayley Atwell, Rob Brydon, Kulvinder Ghir, Nell Williams
  • Country: United Kingdom
  • Year: 2019
  • Running Time: 114 minutes
  • Producer: Gurinder Chadha, Jane Barclay, Jamal Daniel
  • Screenplay: Sarfraz Manzoor, Gurinder Chadha, Paul Mayeda Berges
  • Cinematographers: Ben Smithard
  • Editors: Justin Krish
  • Music: A.R. Rahman
  • Website: Official Film Website
  • Filmography: Viceroy’s House (2017); It’s a Wonderful Afterlife (2010); Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging (2008); Bride and Prejudice (2004); Bend it Like Beckham (2002); What’s Cooking? (2000); Bhaji on the Beach (1994)
  • Language: English
  • Format: DCP
  • US Distributor: Warner Brothers