GPFF: The Revolutionary Optimist

Global Peace Film Fest is an annual event held in Orlando. This year members of the RCC 100: Writing About Social Justice and Community class attended and wrote reviews on a selection of the films. Read all reviews here.

“If you want to start any type of change, start it with the children,” Amlan Ganguly says. This is not just a simple story of children in the slums of Calcutta, India. Directed by Nicole Newnham and Maren Grainger-Monsen, The Revolutionary Optimist is a story that takes viewers through the lives of four children over the course of three years. Amlan Ganguly, the main subject of the film, founded Prayasam to help children actively participate in their communities through many different outlets. Amlan employs activism as he guides Salim and Shika in their efforts to create better living standards in their neighborhood. Salim and Shika gain leadership skills as they work toward a solution for a clean water source in their neighborhood. Amlan also takes on the role of a teacher as he educates Kajal, a young girl who wants an academic education, but has the job of both provider and caretaker to her mother. Furthermore, the film highlights the hardships of life choices through the story of Priyanka, a young woman torn between her passion and her cultural duties. Amlan serves as a mentor by helping Priyanka understand the importance of her choices in terms of her greater wellbeing. The Revolutionary Optimist embodies community, culture, activism, education, choices, opportunity and responsibility through the work of an optimistic man and children willing to make a difference. This film truly captures the heartfelt journey of Amlan Ganguly and the lives of four change agents.

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