India

Goutam Ghose – Maa Bhoomi AKA Our Land (1979)

Set during one of India’s main peasant risings, the Telangana insurrection between 1945 and 1951 in the pre-Independence state of Hyderabad, the Bengali director’s first feature tells the story of Chander’s best-known novel (Jab Khet Jaage (1948) from the peasant’s point of view. A young peasant, Ramiah, rebels against the corrupt rule of the nizam, and when his girlfriend has to submit to the potentate’s sexual coercion, Ramiah leaves. He befriends a Marxist activist (the rising was CPI-inspired) and participates in the Independence struggle. Read More »

Deepa Mehta – Water (2005)

Review by Roger Ebert-
Her father asks Chuyia: “Do you remember getting married?” She does not. He tells her that her husband has died, and she is a widow. She is 8 years old. Under traditional Hindu law, she will be a widow for the rest of her life. There are two alternatives: Marry her husband’s brother, or throw herself on his funeral pyre. Read More »

Pan Nalin – Last Film Show AKA Chhello Show (2021)

A mischievous nine-year-old boy is the unlikely hero of this masterful movie from Pan Nalin who transports the viewer back to the awe and innocence of childhood. Samay and his cohort of rascals hitch a ride on the train that passes their remote village and find their way to a rundown movie theater that offers all the entertainment their little hearts desire. When his friends get escorted out after sneaking in without paying, Samay proves to be the more resourceful one, bribing the hungry projectionist with the home-cooked lunch his mother packed for him. And so begins a daily routine; his lunch in exchange for access to the projection booth—the best seat in the house—where wide-eyed Samay watches the world unfold before him on the big screen. But when the theater transitions from 35mm to digital, this safe haven is disrupted and Samay enlists his buddies to construct their own DIY film projection apparatus. Read More »

Aditya Vikram Sengupta – Once Upon a Time in Calcutta (2021)

Follows the life of a bereaved mother trying to desperately find a new identity, love and independence. Read More »

Deepa Mehta – Fire (1996)

Banned in India, following riots because of its lesbian theme.

In New Delhi Sita, a beautiful and intelligent young woman embarks on an arranged, loveless marriage to a faithless husband, Jatin. The extended family, owners of a video store, live together according to custom. Family tensions escalate. Radha, Sita’s sister-in-law, is unable to conceive; her disappointed husband Ashok (Sita’s husband’s brother) has taken a vow of celibacy, acquired a swami and is often gone. Eventually Jita and Radha develop a physical relationship which is far more emotionally sustaining than they have found with their husbands. Read More »

Deepa Mehta – Earth (1998)

Synopsis:
The movie opens in Lahore of 1947 before India and Pakistan became independent. It is a cosmopolitan city, depicted by the coterie of working class friends who are from different religions. The rest of the movie chronicles the fate of this group and the maddening religious that sweeps even this city as the partition of the two countries is decided and Lahore is given to Pakistan. Read More »

Manav Kaul – Tathagat (2020)

Set in the meditative quietude of a Himalayan village, Tathagat is a poetically shot tale of guilt. Following the journey of a monk questioning his renunciation, this philosophical drama takes a thought-provoking look at the relationship between our childhood memories and adulthood perplexities. Read More »