1954, the Malabar Coast. British and Anglo-Indian identities blur when an English-woman with a neglectful husband births a sickly baby. Cotton Mary, a hospital aide and moralizing Anglophile who claims her father was a British officer, takes over the infant's care and, without a word to the mother, takes the baby daily to her sister to nurse. Mary moves into the English household, taking over more and more duties as she plays on the mother's fatigue and lack of spousal counsel: in effect, Mary colonizes the English household while she pilfers its stores and tells tall tales to her own family. For how long can Mary sustain her rule before the Englishwoman stands on her own feet? Written by
Disappointing really, but beautiful à la Merchant/Ivory
Ah the Malabar coast and India in the early 1950's. It seems it was a pretty boring place. And stereotypes abound both on the "English" and "Indian" sides. Ismail Merchant has created a visually beautiful film with an adequate cast....but where was the character development. The lead actress gets more and more annoying as she slips into the land of make-believe.
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