Repeating the Past: Recurring Images in Garth Davis’ ‘Lion’

An elegant montage of remembrance.
Dev Patel Lion
By  · Published on April 14th, 2017

Garth Davis’ powerful film Lion is about Saroo, an Indian child adopted by Australian parents who as a man tries to find the family he lost more than two decades ago. In retracing a journey he only partially remembers, he comes face to face with the boy he was and the culture he was reared in, both of which are in conflict with the man he’s become. In undertaking this quest, then, Saroo is seeking not just to find his roots, but to find himself, his real self, a self he’s never known but can feel in quiet moments of reflection.

Narratively, that reflection is shown in flashbacks; visually, Oscar-nominated cinematographer Greig Fraser illustrated this reflection with a series of paired shots that match the journey of Saroo the boy with that of Saroo the man, helping us to understand the connections even before the character does.

In the following video from editor Zackery Ramos-Taylor, these paired images have been set side-by-side to reveal not only how they complement one another, but also how they inform a story that takes place half in the past, half in the present, and always with an eye towards the future.

Related Topics:

Novelist, Screenwriter, Video Essayist