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Suzie Gold (2004)
Good humoured romantic comedy is 'true to life'
I was intrigued by the synopsis and bought the film on video for a £1. It was well worth the spend and my wife and I enjoyed watching it. We have had some exposure to the North London Jewish community, having attended several weddings and various other functions and although we didn't recognise the over-the-top histrionics of Suzie Gold's mother, most of the film was a reasonably accurate portrayal of the milieu. Rebecca Green's script was very good. The treatment of Suzie's on-off- relationship with a non-Jewish boyfriend is apparently superficial but it dealt with a difficult subject generously. Generally, the film pokes glancing fun at the community, such that whilst not holding it up to ridicule, it nevertheless shines light on aspects of Jewish life that non-Jews might find both revealing and interesting. I thought the ending was clichéd and lacked originality - it showed, more than anything else in the film,the weaknesses of the script and direction, but who cares? It was a bit of froth and everyone will recognise the homage paid to other films with greater merit.
India Song (1975)
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.