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Laura Blum

Laura is a festival correspondent covering films and the festival circuit for She also publishes on Thalo



DP Greig Fraser Captures “Lion”


As a young boy coming up in rural India, Saroo Brierley often helped his big brother Guddu scavenge for food and money on trains. One evening in 1986 the brothers got separated. Five-year-old Saroo accidentally wound up a thousand miles from home, after boarding what turned out to be an empty, decommissioned train. “Dickensian” doesn’t begin to describe the conditions he toughed out in Kolkata, West Bengal, before being adopted by a well-heeled Australian couple. A quarter century later, going on childhood memories and educated guesswork, Saroo used Google Earth to find his birthplace and birth family.

Now this unlikely saga has spawned both his bestselling memoir A Long Way Home and a screen adaptation called Lion. The film unfolds in two stages. First comes little Saroo’s (Sunny Pawar) propulsive journey through India and his beginnings on the island of Tasmania. The changeling’s next big odyssey, in his 20s (played by Dev Patel), takes place within. Despite a supportive girlfriend (Rooney Mara) and the embracing love of his parents (Nicole Kidman and David Wenham), he feels increasingly guilty about his privileged life and what he imagines to be the toll his absence has taken on his loved ones back home.

Saroo’s story comes full circle as he returns to his village and reunites with his biological mom (Priyanka Bose) and surviving siblings. Cinematographer Greig Fraser traced that circle, beginning with a God’s-eye prelude that anticipates the satellite imagery later to emerge.

This inaugural sequence was also the point of departure for my chat with Fraser: