Sunday, July 25, 2004
Livinghigh was here at 4:23 PM /

Talking Talkies

Saw two amazing movies yesterday at the OSIAN festival, at the India Habitat Centre, so I thought I'd say a little something about them.

1. Beyond Gibraltar

Karim Ben Omar has lived in Brussels for ten years, since his father moved the family there from Morocca. He has newly received an accountant's diploma, but has to face the harsh truth that even in modern-day Brussels, racial segregation is very much real, and few firms want an immigrant accountant. Meanwhile, he falls in love with Sophie, who works at a travel agency. Things come to a head when his brother Farid is killed in a car crash, caught up in gang violence, and Karim returns to Morocco with his father. He feels that life beyond Gibraltar is hollow, and he must return to tell Sophie it is all over between them. But of course, that is easier said than done, and by a twist of fate, as both Karim and Sophie's families brush by tragedy, the cultural divide seems weak on both sides.

The subject is one of those cliched cross-cultural love stories, but the treatment is much more refined, and the underlying theme is not so much the love story, but the idea: how far will you go, and how much are you prepared to give up, to make something of your dreams?

2. Caravan
Tsering's father is killed while the caravan is abroad, and his grandfather, the village chief Tinle blames his helper, Karma, for his death. But the caravan, carrying salt to be traded in the 'land of grain', is the life-blood of this remote Nepali village, and it needs a leader. Karma leaves with the younger men of the village, and Tinle follows soon after, with his daughter-in-law Pema, and Tsering. It is a race to reach the land of grain first, to demonstrate strength and authority, and the fact that Tsering respects Karma, while Pema falls in love with him, complicates matters for Tinle. In the end. both Tinle and Karma learn lessons from each other, and learn to work with each other, for the sake of the village.

An engrossing tale. I knew that, eventually, the caravan must reach its destination - but it was one of the movies in which the journey mattered the most.

(I actually switched my cell-phone off)


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