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Gunga din

Imagine - De Keuze van Koolhoven: Night of the Thugs + Gunga Din

Filmmaker and relentless cinephile Martin Koolhoven (Oorlogswinter, Brimstone) takes a refreshing dip in the cinematographic past with De Keuze van Koolhoven. For Imagine Film Festival, Koolhoven chose a rare classic about a sect: Gunga Din, a high-adventure spectacle inspired by a poem by Rudyard Kipling.

Poster gunga din

The British army gets help from a water carrier in a spectacular adventure film that served as a blueprint for the Indiana Jones films.

Three British soldiers in 1890”s India dream of ways to escape from the army. However, their plans are squashed by the uprising of a murderous cult, the Thuggies, and the army is lured into a trap. Their only ally is the humble water carrier Gunga Din. Spectacular adventure film was groundbreaking in its genre and served as a blueprint for the Indiana Jones films.

With Gunga Din, George Stevens more or less invented the adventure film as we know it now. No historical facts, but a conflict between British rulers and rebellious Thuggees, based on a poem by Rudyard Kipling. These Thuggees, also called Thugs, formed a network of secret societies all over the Indian subcontinent. Either that or they were a concept invented by the British. With an American actor playing the part of Gunga Din and a colonial sense of Western superiority, Gunga Din isn”t exactly politically correct, but that doesn”t make the action any less explosive. For the spectacular final scene, Stevens mobilised a whopping 1500 extras, hundreds of horses and four elephants.


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