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Cricket and the Meaning of Life

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Cricket...and the Meaning of Life explores identity, nationalism, race and a sport rich with history through the eyes of filmmaker Sanjay Talreja. Filmed in Toronto, Trinidad and India, this unique documentary artfully blends archival photographs and vintage telecasts with the words of a mesmerizing orator whose deep tones express the passion of the game and its deep connection to human values.

Like most boys in his native city of Bombay, Talreja's childhood was filled with cricket. Once the domain of elite colonials, it became a way of life practically all throughout the British Commonwealth ... except in Canada. As an adult, Talreja struggled to adapt when he moved to Toronto. He wondered if he would have to erase his past if he wanted to 'belong' to his new country.

One day, a surprise encounter rekindles a long-buried memory and changes everything. He discovers a thriving, yet underground, community of South Asian and Caribbean cricket players in the city.

He meets coach Brian Hale, who does more than teach the rules of the game. He motivates and mentors young cricketers as they transform from boys into men, some of them from immigrants into Canadians. Hale and his team leave on a life-changing tour to Trinidad. Riyaz, the 17-year-old captain whose zeal for the game makes him determined to win against the odds, is a second-generation Canadian, who is convinced that one day cricket will be a Canadian game. Meanwhile, the youngest player, 9-year-old cricket prodigy Nitish, embodies the bold new spirit of young South Asian Canadians. Cricket proveds him a future he can truly call his own.

By tapping into this vitality, Talreja finds that cricket is a sport crucial to the identity of many new Canadians, and helps to rekindle his passion for the game in his new country.

Cricket...and the Meaning of Life was produced as part of the Reel Diversity Competition for emerging filmmakers of colour. Reel Diversity is a National Film Board of Canada initiative in partnership with CBC Newsworld.

2005, 44 min 08 s

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