The Pool | Chicago Reader

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Reality and fiction fuse like watercolors in this quietly compelling narrative feature (2007) by Chris Smith, best known for directing the documentary American Movie. On the Goan coast of India, an illiterate teen who works in a hotel (Venkatesh Chavan) is captivated by a swimming pool on a Panaji hillside estate. Dreaming of a better life for himself and his orphan sidekick (Jhangir Badshah), the teen trails the estate owner (Nana Patekar) to a plant nursery and talks himself into a job as the man's gardener. Small observations and bits of improvised dialogue (much of it steeped in Chavan's own experiences) gradually accrete, as he internalizes the lessons of his patron and transforms a chaotic life into one of purpose. In English and subtitled Hindi. 95 min.

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