Bulbul Can Sing. 2018. India. Directed by Rima Das. In Assamese and Hindi; English subtitles. 95 min.
Assamese filmmaker Rima Das’s follow-up to her well-received Village Rockstars is a heartfelt coming-of-age tale set in her home village of Kalardiya. Short, disconnected vignettes paint a portrait of genteel rural life. At the center is Bulbul, a bubbly, carefree teenager who loves hanging out with her friends. But pain is an unavoidable rite of passage, and Bulbul learns about the cruelty and ugliness of life when an otherwise unremarkable event turns disastrous. While maintaining an intimate emotional bond with her characters, Das keeps just enough distance to give room to the youngsters’ independence and agency.