TIFF19: Jallikattu

Jallikattu (2019) Crime | 6 September 2019 (Canada) Summary: A portrait of a remote village where a buffalo escapes and causes a frenzy of ecstatic violence.
Countries: IndiaLanguages: Malayalam

The escape of a Buffalo results in a remote Indian village to devolve into chaos in Jallikattu. In a remote village in Kerala, India, a buffalo is being prepared for slaughter when it sudden breaks free and goes on a rampage. Over the course of an increasingly frenetic day, the members of the village devolve into a singular mob hellbent on stopping this buffalo’s reign of carnage.

The latest film from Malayalam director Lijo Jose Pellissery (Ee. Ma. Yau, Angamaly Diaries), Jallikattu is a very rhythmically edited action-thriller with a very intense percussion-heavy score. Admittedly, it is a bit difficult to find substance under all the film’s style, as the film bounces back and forth between at least a dozen characters, the most central of which being bone-scraper Antony (Antony Varghese) and his bitter rival Kuttachun (Sabumon Abdusamad), who compete to be the one to kill the rampaging buffalo.


Jallikattu takes its name from a brutal sport in India, where a bull is released into a crowd of people and is also based on a short story by S. Hareesh. The main theme seems to be how quickly society can devolve into its animalistic instincts, which is quite evident in the film’s climax. I can definitely say that Jallikattu is ultimately more of an experience than a narrative film and even though the story is difficult to follow at times, the absolute insanity of the film’s final minutes more than makes up for its shortcomings.

TIFF19 screenings of Jallikattu