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India: Matri Bhumi

India: Matri Bhumi(1959)

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Crying Boy

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  • A beautiful view on Mother india

    • Cristina Scherer
    • 5/14/13

    I have been to India in the early seventies. When I watched this movie I was fascinated by the very sensitive and deferential narration, let alone by the impressive visuals, starting with Bombay. Rossellini captured the size and deeply religious spirit of an all encompassing respect for nature and animals that pervade Indian Culture and Hinduism. The four stories illustrate the hardships - building of a dam - of an immensely industrious population; the treatment of elephants as "bulldozers" of the jungle and how they then are rewarded with an "outdoor spa" bath, massage and pampering; their feeding and mating rituals; the story of an Indian elephant laborer falling in love with a young woman, their courtship and wedding; the absolutely magical sound of the jungle in day and at night, when roaring tigers mate; the attempt at hunting of a bloodthirsty tiger; and finally, the story of an "orphaned" domesticated monkey who loses his master to the desert heat. Heartbreakingly but unsentimentally felt and shown, these stories are a remarkable testament to a poet's understanding of a culture so different from his own. No surprise that Nehru who commissioned the work did not like the movie: it is a work of art, not a propaganda movie for India. I think this is with Jean Renoir's "The River" one of the true homages to India and its inhabitants, their rich culture and spiritual depth. One rare jewel of a masterpiece. I only hope that it will be available as home video soon.

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