There's a Welsh word (with no direct translation in English) that probably means a deep, nostalgic sense of longing for a home that maybe is long gone, or maybe never existed. The word is Hiraeth, and it has a deep connection with Dev Patel's next film Lion, which deals with a boy trying to find his way back home.
Garth Davis' Lion (he's previously directed Shantaram) reminds you of the word, and Dev Patel embodies it beautiful with every expression he channels in the 2 minute trailer of the film.
Lion begins with placing the story front of you simply: a boy from India, Saroo, has been adopted by an Australian couple (Nichole Kidman and David Wenham) feels a sense of void in his current life, and decides to search for his estranged family back in Kolkata.
Immediately the film reminds of you bits and pieces from two other films: Irrfan Khan's misplaced sense of identity beautiful portrayed by stares of longing in The Namesake, and fleeting glimpses of a aspiration to be back where you belong (in this case India) from Dev Patel's own Slumdog Millionaire.
Patel captures the sense of neither here nor there beautifully; he's a talented actor, no doubt. But you can't help but get the sense from the Lion trailer that you've seen these visuals, this performance, these dynamics, and/or these emotions before.
Is that a bad thing? Or that merely nostalgia manifesting itself in a different form? Lion doesn't allow you to ponder too much on those questions.
Saroo's story begins in Kolkata, India, where he lives on the street with his brother. He meanders into an abandoned train compartment one night, and falls asleep. When he wakes up the train is moving and he find himself completely lost. The story ends with him, seemingly having found his happy ending in Australia, with loving foster parents.
But the middle of the story, and what forms the crux of the narrative, is Saroo's longing to go back to where he belongs. The cackles of his childhood haunt him. This is a familiar story, and perhaps an even more familiar set up, but it still resonates. We see Rooney Mara in an appearance as well.
Lion is all set to premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival, and will also be screened at the London Film Festival in October. It will release worldwide in November.
Watch the trailer for Lion here: