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FIRE

Canada, 1996 (MIFF 1997, International)

Director: Deepa Mehta

Courageous and unflinching, Deepa Mehta's engrossing study of a lesbian affair inter­weaves sexual repression, pressure-cooker desire, crumbling patriarchy and cultural transfor­mation in contemporary India. The tugging away of traditional structures reflects social changes and the tension of modernism occurring across the sub-continent.

Radha, the driving force behind husband Ashok's New Delhi restaurant, cohabits peace­ably, if at times uneasily, with her in-laws upstairs. Their barren, 15 year old marriage is rent asunder by the arrival of sister-in-law Sita. a confident modern young wife who poses ques­tions Radha would rather not face. Their hus­bands' complacency and neglect draws the women into a tender relationship which deto­nates into tragedy.

Though unapologetically feminist in its core sympathies, there is much more to Fire than polemical critique. Giles Nuttgens' camera mean­ders through gorgeous precincts of old Delhi; tra­ditional ceremonies and architecture (Hindi wedding processions, Ramanaya folk dramas, the Taj Mahal) are used to tremendous effect; and Fire's incendiary conclusion will not soon be forgotten by Festival audiences.

See also...

EARTH

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KISSED

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HARD CORE LOGO

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LILIES

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FINE POWDER

Esteban Sapir's Fine Powder is a film with its own distinctive aesthetic. It gently oscil­lates between objects and image, seen from the perspective of a confused Jewish boy growing up in ... More »

NéNETTE AND BONI

Reuniting the teenage leads of US Go Home (MIFF 95|, acclaimed director Claire Denis has created a moving film which explores the relationship between two estranged siblings. Boniface, nicknamed ... More »

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