Wednesday, December 15, 2010

What kind of jerk would shoot Gandhi?

Not very deep, I realize, but this is the first cogent thought I had after watching the epic. And actually, the movie isn't that interested in what kind of jerk did shoot him. In fact, for a three-hour movie, the end felt a little rushed. I suspect the issue of partition, and the role of Gandhi's Hinduism therein, was a lot more complicated than the Mahatma wanting everyone to get along and the mistrustful Muslims refusing a sweetheart deal to govern the new nation as a minority. But that might just be my Hitchens showing.

I am also interested in the Indians that were soldiers for the British, mowing down their fellow citizens during a massacre I had never heard of. Maybe the imagery was supposed to speak for itself, but I think at least a sentence or two acknowledging that it was largely Indian soldiers doing the massacring, beating, etc., would have been well taken. Maybe it's part of how carefully and elaborately the whole movie was framed? I feel like, from the monster disclaimer that opens the film forward, that the project was very much an English look at this man, so a lot (his radicalization, his abandonment of affiliation with Western/British identity) is left opaque or elided. And I'm actually okay with that.

Because I cannot let a post go live without letting my feminista flag fly, I will register my raised eyebrows that the priest G met in South Africa was summarily dismissed because this had to be a movement run by Indians, but it was no problem for the British woman to take a highly visible role in his household, because clearly she wouldn't be contributing in any meaningful way.

And yay for baby Martin Sheen!

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