The Revenant, The Viceroy’s House

The Revenant

 A ‘revenant’ is someone who returns, in particular from the dead. It’s an apt title for Di Caprio’s star vehicle, a story of a wildsman helping a group of trappers. Things go awry, and when one of his companions convinces the others to abandon him, after murdering his son, he faces impossible odds in his quest for justice.

It’s an interesting piece, and the final scene is more satisfying than a simple fight to the death (although there is one). Not one I’d recommend particularly, but not terrible.

The Viceroy’s house

The Viceroy’s house is the story of the partition of India, and a love story between a Hindu man and a Muslim woman. It’s an important topic, and a powerful one. Unfortunately, the film doesn’t quite live up to its material.

The love story is … not given quite enough air time to breathe, so that it feels pro forma, rather than earned. The story of the partition of India is the more gripping one, and the movie casts Mountbatten as the noble fool, struggling to achieve a just outcome when in fact he’s been played by forces outside his ken.

Whether that’s true or not is a question I don’t know the answer to, because I don’t know the history well enough. There’s an article in The Guardian that argues the historical narrative underlying the movie is wrong; there’s probably more out there. Regardless, if you’re interested in the history of partition, I’d recommend going with a good history book, rather than this movie.

Moanna

Moanna is a beautiful film. It doesn’t seem to have quite achieved the popularity of Let it go Frozen, but it has a catchy soundtrack (by Lin-Manuel Miranda), and a story that features a heroine travelling into a dark and forbidden realm, to save her tribe.

The harder part, though, is the cultural appropriation. This isn’t something I’m qualified to speak on, but this article in The Smithsonian I think reflects a range of views, that there is both good and bad in the movie.

Mahana

Mahana is a beautiful film. It tells the story of Simeon Mahana, grandson of a domineering grandfather who holds iron sway over his family. He wants freedom, and so he challenges his grandfather – that leads, tragically and painfully, to his entire immediate family being cast out.

There is suffering, in the regions they’re cast into, but joy too. It’s there that Simeon gains the strength to challenge his grandfather; so that when a new conflict threatens to roil between the Mahanas and their rival family, Simeon is able to put it to rest.

It’s a beautiful film, and worth watching.

 

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