Sunday, October 28, 2007


I thought "Darjeeling Limited" would be an Indian film, in the tradition of "Water" by the Canadian Indian filmmaker, Deepa Mehta. It wasn't. It was set mostly in India, and had some Indian minor characters, but the main characters were three brothers, presumedly wealthy Americans. They are in India on some kind of spiritual quest and also in quest of their mother who has a history of abandoning them. The movie actually starts with a short clip of one of the brothers and his girlfriend in an hotel in Paris. This is called Part I, and Part II is the main part with the 3 brothers hopping on and off the Darjeeling Limited train, and other means of transportation as they travel through India visiting spiritual sites, and finally visiting their mother who lives with nuns at the foot of the Himalayas.

The film is a bit slow, but there was enough there to hold my attention. The interaction among the brothers is interesting - it's amusing, with some tension. Their interaction with others: the assistant of the oldest brother, the train stewardess, the local people also adds to the tapestry of the movie. This isn't a plot-driven movie, and so the closeups, the raised eyebrows, the sighs, the dialogue are all important. We find out that these brothers had lost their father, and the mother had not shown up at his funeral. The brothers find themselves in a funeral of a boy in India. It was interesting to watch the rituals involved, and while there was no big emotional impact, on a subtle level the viewer was supposed to relate this to the father's funeral that these brothers had witnessed.

So the movie flows in a subtle way, small things happening to them, their journey through India, and the viewer gets to know the brothers a bit more - not a lot - and they are charming and funny, and the Indian scenery is different and colorful and captivating. So, nothing big here, no important message, but it was a pleasant enough way to spend almost two hours.

The other movie, "Dan In Real Life", is described as a romantic comedy. It is about a widower who attends a family gathering with his three daughters. There, he meets and falls in love with his brother's girlfriend. She also falls for him - and this is where I start to have problems because I'm not comfortable of the flirtation between Dan and his brother's girlfriend, right in front of the brother and entire family. The girlfriend breaks off with the brother, two hours later she's necking with Dan in a bowling alley, but then that seems to be OK because the brother quickly picks up another hottie, and so Dan and his daughters go off to find the love interest.

This movie reminded me of "Sideways", another romantic comedy; that one was about a man about to get married who takes off with his friend to the California Central Coast wineries where he picks up some woman as a last fling. Again, it was a technically well done film, and yes, I'll admit there were funny parts, but if I really thought of it, it was appalling that a man would be so unfaithful to his bride-to-be.

Maybe it's beause I've been raised by nuns all my life. That must explain why my values are different and why I see through these technically well-done films, and see the characters for what they are - shallow with (what I call) questionable morals. Sister Cecilia here, raised by Belgian and American nuns from Kindergarten all the way to College; avid fan of Thomas Merton, C.S. Lewis, Gandhi, Jesus and Mary too.

Do I sound cranky? Let me end this in a lighter note, I heard from a writer friend in France, Michael Genelin (murder mystery author, Sirens of the Water)who met another writer friend in a Halloween party on the Seine, Bonnie Melvin (author, A Normal Life).

What a small world we find ourselves in!

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