...engaging and discerning culture, as a way of life...

August 31, 2006

Water - 6

This film tells the story of being a widow in India. Set in the 1930's during British colonial rule and the rising popularity of Gandhi, the story follows 8 year old Chuyia, who has been recently widowed. She is forced by family to live in a community of widows, most much older than herself. She soon befriends one of the widows who is somewhat of a rebel, having a dog is the first sign, we soon learn that she is not following the religious scriptures which say that widows must remain pure unto death, or bring judgment on themselves. That is the main tension of the film. The director taking a more liberated view that women should be able to remarry and that the caste system promotes poverty. The film has many dramatic moments and tries to help the audience feel the emotions and the experience of the characters- especially the helplessness that surrounds them. The film ends on a hopeful note, pointing to a future where systems of oppression might be abolished. The final text on screen shows the magnitude of the subject- that there are 46 million widows in India now and that most still live within the bounds of the traditional religious structure. This film was directed by Deepa Mehta, and is part of a series that includes the films Fire and Earth.

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