Sunday, August 16, 2009

Beautiful Movie

I rented the movie "Water". It is beautiful, poignant, horrifying and made me sob at the end.

Water depicts life in India for widows, including very young girls, whose husbands die. They are then considered unclean, and confined to hard difficult isolated lives. The child widows are sometimes whored out to upper class men.

The young girl in the movie is a beautiful spirited child whose parents abandon her with the widow keeper after the little girls' husband dies. The little girl does not even know she was ever married.

A young man with new ideas instilled by Gandhi comes back home from school and in a chance encounter meets one of the young widows by the river. He wants to marry her. His mother is horrified and his father suggests he keep her as a mistress only, and says it is an honor for any woman to sleep with men of their class.

In the end, the young woman drowns herself in the holy river and the little girl is taken to spend the night, for money, with this man's father. The child is brutalized. An older widow has been questioning a faith that allows such practises against women, and when she discovers the child widow gone, not long after the young woman's suicide, she is frantic to find her. She sees the boat returning, the child curled in trauma in its bow, and grabs the child in her arms, to craddle, comfort, and to protect her.

The young man has decided to leave forever, after the young widow's suicide, filled with disgust for the class system in India, practised even by his own parents, and treatment of women. He is disgusted with a religion and its followers that create doctrine to benefit themselves. He sits by the water with the older widow and says, "The widows are not treated as they are because of faith. It is a matter of money and convenience that religion has dictated the fate of widows."

Gandhi is taking a train tour through India and it is announced, as the older widow cradles the brutalized child widow by the water, that he will be at the train station for five minutes.

She runs to the station with the child. She is surrounded by those of higher class who are not in any manner doing what is right but there nonetheless, acting as if they too righteously practise the ways of Gandhi.

She pushes frantically through the crowd, as the train steams off. Gandhi is on board and so is the young man, leaving behind his home town forever. She runs harder and faster, the child in her arms, screaming, "Take this child, please someone, she's a widow, take this child...." The young man leans from the train and takes the child from the older widow's the train steams on the older widow cries out to the child, "Do not be afraid...." and the young man's face watches her, as he clutches the child widow, and the older woman is left behind to her certain fate, as a widow. But she saved that child from her fate.

The movie is as artistic as it is tragic, full of beautiful visual scenes of the compulsive religious rituals that contrast with the stark hypocrisy of religious practise as documented in the brutality of life for the widows.

This movie also cries out for women everywhere, enslaved and abused, through hallowed religious doctrines created for the benefit of man.

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