It wasn’t until about two-thirds of the way through Machan, a dramatization of the true story of the Sri Lankan National Handball Federation, that I realized I was completely wrong about what handball was. I could take consolation, however, in the fact that the 23 members of the team were equally unfamiliar with the sport. The directorial debut of Full Monty producer Uberto Pasolini opens in the slums of Sri Lanka’s capital city, Colombo, where life is a constant struggle for money to pay the rent and a visa to get the hell out. Germany is the dream destination of the hapless protagonists—a dashing gigolo, a slick scam artist, and 21 others. After having their visa applications repeatedly rejected by the German embassy, two of the crew find a crumpled-up ad for a handball tournament in Bavaria and decide to enter in order to gain passage. No matter that they’ve never heard of the sport—the name seems self-explanatory enough. Hilarity, struggle and the inevitable moral dilemmas ensue; the result leaves the viewer refreshed and petrified of large German handballers.
Saturday at 7 p.m. Also at 8:15 p.m. on Tuesday, April 21. Both showings at Landmark’s E Street Cinema.