A 'silent' movie permeated by the ghosts of a colonial past
I was taken aback at first - the complete absence of spoken dialogue from the cast was a bit unnerving - instead, the film consists of two strands, visual and aural. Visually, the film is slow, languorous and visually sensual. It is almost a 'silent' film. Aurally, the film consists of voices over, providing not so much a narrative as recollections. The voices over (not being a fluent French speaker I had to rely on sub-titles) are telling a story of events that happened in the past whilst the cast act out the events as though they are the ghosts of the buildings in which the events were played out. But there is a story - of a woman married to a French diplomat, living for the time being in Calcutta, who takes lovers to relieve the tedious boredom of social niceties (and the heat, dust and flies). This story is punctuated by one scene in which someone who has fallen in love with her makes his feelings known to her and then, betraying the norms of his society, declares his feelings and his despair, by getting emotional about it - very emotional. I was transfixed. Fortunately, I watched it on DVD having recorded it from BBC4 - so I've got it to watch again, as I shall most certainly do.
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