Monday, June 05, 2006


Water, Water, Water

Yesterday, my husband and I had a surprise few hours to ourselves in the afternoon and went to see Deepa Mehta's latest movie, Water, at Dupont Circle. The reviews have all been right - it is an extraordinary film. It is stunningly beautiful, from the very first shot of a marsh filled with water plants (lotuses, perhaps? If so, there is resonance there, later in the film.) You know instantly that you're in the hands of a master of visual storytelling. Set in the 1930s, the film tells the story of the arrival of an 8-year-old widow at a widows' ashram in a holy city on the banks of the Ganges River. As in the other two films in Mehta's trilogy, Fire and Earth (rent them today!), the female characters are at the center. Water tells their stories, the awakenings, transformations, and tragedies. The women are magnificent - the characters nuanced, the actors spectacular.

My only tiny disappointment was the central male character, Narayan, who seemed a little too saintly. I gather the actor, John Abraham, is a big Bollywood star; maybe he's too iconic to mess with. Still, I wondered, is any man this perfect?

I had been feeling a tad depressed and almost talked Tom into some Hollywood escapism. But the options -- Mission Impossible 17,000? The DaVinci Code? -- were so abysmal, Tom convinced me we should have a good movie-going experience, not a crummy one. And thank you, Tom! A crucial reminder that good art - art that makes you think, that may even make demands on you - is restorative, not draining. And art that finds beauty and celebrates beauty, even in the face of corruption and suffering, is what gives meaning to my life. Please spread the word: Water is a film to see not because one should, but because of the great sensual pleasures it provides. Bodily sustenance.

"Still, I wondered, is any man this perfect?" Hmm...guess not, but I'll keep trying.

Nice post, and I really liked the intro to Beltway issue as well. Sincere and credible.

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