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Romantic Road - Film Review

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British eccentrics on a road-trip in India

You can't help but fall in love with the charming Romantic Road which captures the essence of the spirit that still hankers for adventure and a can do attitude.

Jan and Rupert Grey are the subjects in this 80 minute documentary directed by Oliver McGarvey in his feature debut and executive produced by actress Sharon Stone. It's won Best Film at the Victoria (2019) and Edmonton (2017) International Film Festivals and was the Official Selection at the DocPoint Helsinksi Documentary Film Festival in 2018.

In their mid 60s, Jan a retired Corrections Officer and Rupert a Lawyer, live simply in the South of England in a rural cottage with their chickens, sheep and cats. Rupert's prized possession is his hand-me-down family car; a 1936 Rolls Royce that has a lot of emotional connections to his father and his childhood. It's not a Rolls you'd imagine, but a battered, well used workhorse that's been put to work as a car should be.

Rupert has always been adventures, and a tad eccentric. He's a hands-on working hard on the land kind of man of determination with a hunger to experience things. Jan is his stabiliser that provides the perfect balance for Rupert to bounce off. She's calm, thoughtful, has a gentle strength and open to all of Rupert's adventures, just to be by his side as any loving wife would want to be. She readily admits, were it not for him, her life would reflect the quieter person she is.

What started as a seed of thought, a maybe, is about to become a mammoth road-trip adventure in India. Come along for a ride to the Chobi Mela- the International Festival of Photography in Bangladesh which suits Rupert's passion for imagery and road trips, down to the ground. This leading London lawyer and his wife redefine later life and how you're never too old to live your dreams no matter how odd, wild or crazy they may be.

The Rolls is shipped across to the sub-continent and they embark on an ambitious 5000 mile, 6 month journey from Mumbai to Dhakar. On the way they battle local officials, dodge tribal conflicts, fall into company with tea-wallahs and maharajahs, not to mention treacherous roads and problems with the Rolls. They are a curiosity to the Indians who probably think of them as madcaps, but being used to the class divides imposed on them many still look upon the white-man as being their betters and Rupert and Jan are given the respect and welcome befitting their elder years.

This film takes you to the heart of this journey. There's no fancy cinematography, just the journey as is. This makes it more real with a real-time feel, like you're journeying with them, getting anxious as they would as obstacles cross their paths. They've living every experience and not just documenting it like an outsider. The gentle love story between them is evident and along the way they have what Rupert has always known. The romance of a road trip that gives them more precious time with each other. They're a beacon for us to never stop embracing the possibilities of life.

IN CINEMAS IN AUSTRALIA FROM JULY 2 2020 - Click here for participating cinemas.
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