Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Monsoon Wedding

Mira Nair, 2001, India (7.4*)
This is, as director Mira Nair said, “organized chaos”, like life in India. Unfortunately I couldn’t tell this was a drama and not a big, enjoyable party film until about 90 minutes in. Nair weaves together several stories of people of different classes and circumstance as a family comes together for the hastily arranged marriage of the daughter of Lalit Verma (Naseerudding Shah).

There’s lots of dancing, aided by a strong pop soundtrack, attempted mating, family arguments and secrets (one dark one that turns the film's mood), but there’s no very cohesive story here, just a slice of Indian life in a large family reunion and wedding. There’s probably too much shaking, hand-held camera work throughout, it fits the dancing and street scenes but in a romantic interlude on the balcony, and almost every other scene as well, it becomes distracting. Still, a joyous, unbridled look at Indian culture that is all too scarce in western films. Half is in English, half sub-titles.

One character says, "Speaking in English makes one sound more important!"

[Note: I loved the reference to “that Booker prize girl became a millionaire overnight”, who is Ruth Jvabvala, who won that prize for Heat and Dust, then adapted her own novel for the excellent film by James Ivory, starring Julie Christie as the modern equivalent of her aunt in India, played by Gretta Scacci, my favorite film of 1983.]


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Artist, photographer, composer, author, blogger, metaphysician, herbalist

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These are the individual film reviews of what I'm considering the best 1000 dvds available, whether they are films, miniseries, or live concerts. Rather than rush out all 1000 at once, I'm doing them over time to allow inclusion of new releases - in fact, 2008 has the most of any year so far, 30 titles in all; that was a very good year for films, one of the best ever.

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