Thursday, March 15, 2012

Jason goes to Asianfest--Day 6

Two more movies last Tuesday, let's jump right in

First up was a war drama CATCH, from highly regarded Cambodian directory Rithy Panh. It's based on a story that was originally set in WWII, but he has updated it to Cambodia in the Vietnam war. An American pilot crashes and is captured by a group of local boys, led by orphan Pang (also known as "The Bastard.") The local Khmer Rouge is impressed, and leave the boys in charge of guarding him. Pang also very explicitly finds a new family as they tell him, "From now on, Angkar is your only family." They keep a very tight watch on the pilot, at first keeping him in a well and laughing as he refuses to eat a fish head. Eventually, some lines of friendships form, but of course they are always tenuous. It's a pretty powerful portrayal of war, particularly from a child's perspective. And I was left with the point that war is hell not because of what others do to you, but because of what it can make you do to others.

So after that, how about a bit of a light comedy? I got that with DELHI IN A DAY, the story of a wealthy family living in a mansion in Delhi and their English friend Jasper (the son of the father's friend and boss) who comes for a brief visit. Jasper has cashed out his savings and taken a trip to India to find...something. Something spiritual, he thinks. He wants to see the 'real India,' not just the world of his father's colleagues. So instead of being picked up by a servant in a car, he takes a taxi (that takes way too long and overcharges him.) When he's there, he's not exactly rude to their hospitality but he's way more interested in the lives of the servants (especially the lovely Rohini.) But his very presence upsets the household dynamics, and a bit of tragedy strikes. Ultimately, while he's looking for something 'spiritual' or 'real' he finds that India is just as complicated and contradictory as a nation of a billion people naturally would be.

Total Running Time: 181
My Total Minutes: 273,720

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