It's surely a film you shouldn't miss. It will remind you how actions can speak louder than words.
Labour of Love
is a breath of fresh air in a medium that relies heavily on dialogues to make an impact. More importantly, the fact that the film has none of it doesn't really alter its beauty. It shows, rather convincingly at that, how drama and detailing can keep the audience glued to seats even if none of the actors mouth a single word.
Speaking of drama, it's the realness that strikes a chord. Both the characters, played by Ritwick and Basabdutta, go about life in such a mundane, unhurried kind of way that the film seems to be a documentary about a day in the life of a lower middle-class working couple, with the recession as the backdrop. And they are good, really good, in whatever they do in front of the camera within those 84-odd minutes. Their body language and actions tell the story of anyone not born with a silver spoon in the mouth.
But the highlight of the film, without which it wouldn't been half of what it turned out to be, is the attention to detail. It traces the couple's life in minute detail, sketching out their work and personal routines using a sequence of strokes to create the complete picture. From that hook on the wall where both hang the house keys, the towel laid out to dry by the kitchen sink, to the notches on the ceiling fan regulator — everything contributes to creating the circle around which the couple's life revolves. Even the content of their tiffin boxes are the same, and so is lunch and dinner. Each and every dot is connected and accounted for. The depiction of the only black-and-white moment in the couple's life when they meet for a few romantic minutes in the morning is truly touching and well portrayed.
Despite all this, Labour of Love can't be called flawless. And in its case, it's the unnecessary panning and prolonged focus employed in many scenes. For one, there is this almost 360-degree pan in a scene involving Ritwick. The camera pans away from him eating a cake, goes nearly a complete circle, and ends up on a red oxide-painted wall, consuming nearly 2 minutes. Don't expect a classic continuation sequence, because there is none. It is simply followed by a cut, which is a bit jarring. Then again, there's this prolonged focus on the turning wheels of Ritwick's bicycle as he returns from work. It's again followed by an abrupt cut.
But that's just a technical point and doesn't make any difference to the beauty of the film. And it's surely a film you shouldn't miss. It will remind you how actions can speak louder than words.