Water, Water, Everywhere

A few weeks ago we went to see Water at the SF International Asian American Film Festival. Truly an amazing film and absolutely to be seen in the theater, not on your little TV. I hadn’t seen any of the other films in the Elemental Trilogy (Fire, Earth), but had heard great things about this film from my family.

It tells tells the story of a community of widows in India, forced, by religion/economics to live our the rest of their lives in an unfulfilled state – in poverty, no pleasure (i.e., fried foods or sweets) permitted, no remarriage, nothing by prayer and begging. When a woman is valueless, there is no choice, and when a girl is married off at 8 for her dowry, and the much older man dies, she is basically an abandoned person for the rest of her natural life. Horrifying premise, that was and is true.

The story of the making of the film is as amazing as the film itself. Director Deepa Mehta told the story afterwards of the original production, shut down by fundamentalists in India, leaving her to fume for 4 years before shooting again in Sri Lanka. That story seems to be getting a lot of ink, appearing in the New York Times (and a several similar pieces in the SF Chron over the past few days), and documented in the story of a camera assistant as well in the just published Shooting Water, by the director’s daughter. I started the book on the trip to Toronto and it’s interesting, if a bit youthful in tone. I’ve only just started and thankful for the detail and so much explanation as to the aspects of Indian culture and environments that help my understanding of the film; mind you, I wish someone had proofread the book enough to correct her reference to the Bradbury Building as the Ray Bradbury Building.


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