Monday, September 03, 2007  

Film To See (and See again)

Like I said, have been watching films after it has cooled off some and so watched Earth with M who has been telling me it is one of the most moving films on partition made to date, and I must say, I wholeheartedly agree. For anyone feeling any curiosity about how India and Pakistan came about in this, their 60th year.. this film bears watching.

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Earth is Deepa Mehta's amazing film, based on the book, "Cracking India" (a great title if ever there was one) about the partition of India. This part of her trilogy Earth, Fire, Water, of which I had already seen one (Water). When I saw it, I stood in awe of its story and the cinematography.

With Earth, I felt that the story was much more compelling than the cinematography- although this may be that I was learning about events I had only heard about such as the mass murders on the trains bringing refugees out of the split sections of Punjab (what became Pakistan and India). Indeed, what I found interesting was the horrific subtlety of the scenes depicting some of the most shocking violence of partition and it got me thinking: in an area in which multiple religions and ethnic groups have lived in relative harmony for 1,000's of years, how does the fabric of a society get rent so violently in such a short time? Does colonialism have anything to do with it, or does each group secretly harbor hope for an individual homeland, a hope passed down through the privately expressed mythology of each?

I'm going to have to watch it again, since I am sure, in my being caught up in the story, there was so much I didn't catch. I'll write something more profound after a 2nd viewing, including something about the touching and charming kite flying scene. Suffice to say, I highly recommend Earth - just be warned, there is little light about it and it is a profound viewing experience.

An interview with Deepa Mehta here.

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Random, slushy thoughts

Well, we're roasting out here in SoCal. Now mind you, I like heat- just not slightly damp, slightly muggy heat. So before I melt, I thought I'd write a bit.

For the weekend, I've been thinking, listening to music and watching films (lethal combo-for you, anyway).

And, as the school year approaches, I am gearing up for my annual, don't let your child be recruited by No Child Left Behind (and yes, Fadi, as we get closer to bombing Qom, this means you) campaign. Cannot tell you how evil this thing is.

And I've been thinking about the Green Card Soldiers, who come mostly from the Southwest and who are often in the front line and make up a growing percentage of the war dead.

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(still from The Short Life of Jose Antonio Gutierrez)

And I thought of this song by Pistolera from their album Siempre Hay Salida:

La Espera, track 9
Alguien le prometió un futuro mejor.
Le dijeron que el trabajo era un trabajo de honor.
Y a otro le dijeron que esto era su chance pa' proteger a su país y demostrar su valor.
Y se fueron, cada quien tenía su razón.
La guerra no discrimina quien lleva y quien deja regresar.
La esposa esperará con los dedos cruzados que su esposo regrese a conocer a su hijo.
Y la otra familia piensa que tienen suerte, no están preparados para malas noticias.
Cada día algunos caen y otros sobreviven.
La guerra no discrimina quien lleva y quien deja regresar.
Someone promised him a better future.
They told him that the work was one of honor.
And to another they told him it was his chance
to defend his country and demonstrate his bravery.
And they went, each had his own reason.
War does not discriminate
who is it takes and who is allowed to return.
The wife shall wait with crossed fingers
that her husband shall return to know his son.
And the other family believes they are lucky,
they are not prepared for bad news.
Each day some fall, and others survive.
War does not discriminate
who it takes nor who is allowed to return.

You can listen to it here.
It's a beautifully tragic song that is, sadly, very true.

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