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Harriet, now an adult, narrates the story of her coming of age growing up as a British national and a daughter of a jute press manager in the Bengal region of India, they living in the big house on the banks of one of the holy rivers. At the time, she is the eldest of six siblings - five girls and one boy - with another on the way and with she being significantly older the rest of her siblings. As such, she spends much time with an honorary member of their family, a late teen - not quite an adult - named Valerie, also a British national and the daughter of the jute press owner. Another friend, who recently arrived home from her western schooling, is Melanie, the biracial daughter of British national Mr. John and his then deceased Hindu wife. Both Mr. John and Melanie realize her difficult position, straddling both the Hindi and western cultures. Their small world is shaken up with the arrival of Captain John, Mr. John's cousin and an American ex-military man who has one prosthetic leg... Written by
A very surreal, strange film thanks to Technicolor
Wow. What a special film this was! On the surface so basic but underneath a deeply spiritual and satisfying adventure... I cannot say enough about the color, and the process used, something Martin Scorsese talks about in length during an interview on the Criterion disc. To him, along with the Red Shoes, this is the most beautiful color film ever made, and I would have to agree with him. A shot of an orange tree stands out in my mind towards the end, it sways in the wind against a bright blue background, and it gave me goosebumps all over my body. The film plays very much like a dream, beneath somewhat mediocre acting and story, but I won't get into that, because I didn't feel as though that mattered as much as the overall feeling and purpose the film left with me afterwards... Some people I was with really didn't respond to it the way I did, but I think you have to enjoy it on a different level or it has the potential to fail, but when I saw it I found it a great, great masterpiece, better than any other Renoir film I have ever seen (I know Rules of the Game is considered his greatest, but that doesn't stand next to this at all in my mind). See it also for the beautiful cinematography of the culture of India during colonial rule, which has all but transformed by now.
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