New bride (Das) enters household already containing husband’s aged mother, elder brother & wife (Kharbanda+Azmi), & longtime servant (Chowdhry). Both arranged marriages are fragile, & the sisters-in-law turn to each other for ever-deepening, eventually-sexual companionship. Closely-observed exploration of “ordinary” middle-class Indian women confronting tension between traditional expectations & contemporary options. More on FIRE.
Knowing the “back story” helps (Breillat’s older sister is a popular French actress), but this is still a pretty unpleasant experience. The eponymous younger sister is treated with contempt & hostility by both her mother & her sister, but is avenged (well, kinda sorta) at the end. Brutally frank sexuality. More on FAT GIRL.
German-Jewish teenager runs east from the Nazis. He manages to talk his way into a Russian orphanage, but when the region falls under Occupation, he somehow convinces a group of soldiers that he’s a German being held against his will. Improbably tale that’s fact-based – he actually lived to tell it. More on EUROPA, EUROPA.
Aging ex-Miss Wichita (Julia Roberts) bamboozles her way into a file clerk job @ a law firm & then starts reading between the lines. To everyone’s surprise, including her own, she turns out to have a sharp mind as well as a dynamite body. Julia grins & the audience cheers. More on ERIN BROKOVICH.
A film about the conflict between Hindus & Moslems in post-colonial India that humanizes the epic “partition scenes” in GANDHI. A prosperous Parsee family watches helplessly as their world collapses around them & former friends choose sides. Haunting. More on EARTH.
Director Taymor (famous for Broadway’s LION KING) has a fabulous eye. Her life partner, composer Elliot Goldenthal, has a fabulous ear. Together, they’ve created an aesthetic masterpiece celebrating the artistic triumphs of Mexican painter Frida Kahlo & her husband, muralist Diego Rivera. Unfortunately, the brilliant spectacle sometimes overwhelms the actors.