Monsoon Wedding - rated - HOT! HOT! HOT!

A Torrent of Joy

I saw Monsoon Wedding only a week or so after seeing Amelie. I was struck by the gorgeous rich colour and the humanity of both films, but, much as I loved experiencing Amelie at the time, I think Monsoon Wedding is the better film. Monsoon Wedding touched me more deeply, and it is Monsoon Wedding which has stayed with me in the days after I saw it. Amelie is the slicker film, but it is all style: the emotion is not quite the real thing.

The credits give you the cue - this is not some precious "ethnic" film. This is a film that will surprise you with its modernity and the adaptability of its characters. The credits are among the most arresting I've seen for a while - great swatches of colour, with sensuous (but sharply drawn lines snaking across the screen. And the music! Heavenly danceable jangly Indian tunes.

Some critics have complained that the film might be a bit "soapy," and some have said that they would have preferred that the sub-plot involving the events planner had been dropped. But I think they miss the point here. It's a wonderful performance by an ensemble cast which seems as close as a real family (and I think some of them are the family of the director, Mira Nair - certainly this film is a homage to her family and the family helped with the film in various ways). But as to eliminating the sub-plot - no, we need to spend time with all the characters to get a small insight into the modern India. We can't just stick with the classy and the glamorous. We need to see the pushy and the daggy too, because they are parts of the whole wonderful messy canvas, and they might just be the element that pushes a pretty picture into the area of the sublime.

© Michèle M Asprey 2002

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