A climate for conflict

A Passage to India (1984) is a fine film, a grand and lavish epic, handsomely mounted, based on the E.M. Forster novel, published in 1924 during the days of colonial England. It’s a valuable story. The values of East and West meet romantically, but also comes with a hefty dose of realism where East and West clash. British daughter-in-law and mother-in-law travel to India to with be with her fiancé and explore this exotic country. But she is caught up in a scandal, claiming an Indian doctor, who was her escort on a day trip, violated her. Controversy erupts and the locals stand by the doctor, saying he is innocent and the British are unjust. The larger meaning is the relationship between England and colonial India. The human meaning is prejudice and fear of the unknown. A Passage to India is beautifully filmed, wonderfully acted, and larger than life-like characters engage vividly and vitally. It is especially recommended for thoughtful audiences and fine film aficionados. Rating: 10/10

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Slice of life cuts to the heart

Places in the Heart (1984) unwraps as a slice of life in a community of Texas in the 1930’s, it’s leisurely paced as Edna Spaulding responds to her husband’s accidental death, making her a widow, and the community also responds. She now must avoid foreclosure on her house with the help of unlikely allies. Beautifully rendered storytelling, cinematography and cast of characters. Forgiveness and facing the world with strength and resolve is in this slice of life movie. Rating: 9/10

Offside Mozart in dramatic telling

The fictional drama of an Austrian court composer’s revenge on Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is scintillating, and scandalous. Composer Salieri is jealous of Mozart’s musical ability and his outlandish behavior puts him offside even more. He blames God for giving a greater gift to this “trained monkey”, as he calls Mozart, and not to himself. His confession of revenge to a Catholic priest recalls Salieri meeting Mozart and how their professional and personal relationship was tainted. The production values of Amadeus (1984) are done to the hilt—wonderful to behold, immaculate. Rating: 10/10

Making things right

The Killing Fields (1984) is, despite the title, real heart and soul, a wonderful sense of humanity in desperate places, based on a true story. A Cambodian interpreter is working with a New York Times journalist covering the conflict in Cambodia circa the 1970’s. Dith Pran, the interpreter, stays in Cambodia, as Sydney, the journalist, leaves the country. The Pol Pot regime takes over and Pran is imprisoned, but he attempts to escape the prison camp and flee to safety. Sydney is dealing with a guilty conscience over leaving Pran behind and tries to find him. The Killing Fields is done with a sense of horror at the atrocities of war and a thread of hope and humanity despite the horrors and how things can be made right. It is also a vivid recreation of that period.
Rating: 10/10

Wonderful theme for Relationships

Bebe and Cece Winans’ “Relationships” album from 1994 is more like the sense of heart and soul of their earlier albums as it’s laid to bare lyrically and soulfully. This one takes on a new theme. It is about trials and tribulations and redemption, a wonderful theme. Apart from the under-done Don’t Let Me Walk This Road Alone and the overdone We Can Make a Difference, it’s evenly spread in soft, smooth and cool, and effective even in low-key and on occasion hitting it through the roof. Rating: 8/10