Subscribe

   
 
 

 

 

 

1

2

 

0

1

 

0

8

 

F

I

L

M

 

1

2

 

0

1

 

0

8

 

F

I

L

M

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

 

   
       
 

A Kind of Blue

   
 

Before the Rains

   

 

  

 

Blue is the color of sea and sky.  On a sunny cloudless day, when the sky is a deep azure, blue can only be the color of happiness.  Azure derives from the Persian word for lapis lazuli.  Lapis lazuli was used to make the pigment ultramarine before the 19th century, and Cleopatra was said to have used powdered lapis as eye shadow.  Shades and shadows of blue . . . because blue is also the color of sorrow and despair.  And it is also the color of the verdant mountain range called the Nilgiris (lit. the Blue Mountains) that runs through parts of Tamil Nadu and Kerala in southern India.

Indian director Santosh Sivan uses a blue filter in his photography that gives Before the Rains a certain poetic mood; the hair of Sajani (Nandita Das) and T.K. (Rahul Bose) is blue-black, with the sheen of both peacock and crow, and the entire film is infused with this blueness.  The color gives it a haunting aura . . . and like a Greek tragedy the story inexorably unfolds.  One know that the rains will arrive, that the monsoon is inevitable, and that the skies will turn dark with storm clouds. 

The film opens with scenes of blue mountains and lush foliage.  It is spectacular country - we are never quite told where we are but because it is set in Kerala and there is talk of growing tea one assumes that it is the Nilgiris - they are then the blue mountains of metaphor here.  It is 1937 in pre-independence India and Henry Moores (Linus Roache) is a British entrepreneur who plans to build a road, grow tea, then cinnamon.  T.K is his Indian right hand man, his trusted and loyal second.  There is a wife (Jennifer Ehle) and Sajani, the beautiful Indian housekeeper who is also married.  It is a story of love, adultery and death, and a tale of class, race, culture, and the struggle for Indian independence.  It is simple, simplistic, melodramatic, but sometimes there is poetry in such simplicity, when all the elements in a composition are taken to the extreme.  Every gesture in the film serves the plotline - there is nothing extraneous.  As Henry Moores says in the film, "We have no choice," and to enjoy this film one needs to give in to blueness and be drawn along by the broad strokes of the story. 

And there is always the enduring beauty of the Nilgiri Hills, and as Sade sang: Azul es el color del rojo cielo . . . . 

 

 

The film was a part of the Tribeca Film Festival earlier this year, and Santosh Sivan's earlier film, The Terrorist, received much critical acclaim.

 

See: Before the Rains
See: The Terrorist

 

Tags:  film  india  cleopatra  color

 

Share:    

 

 

 

 

 

 

       
 

 
       
     

ARCHIVES    ART    LITERATURE    ARCHITECTURE    FILM    MUSIC    DANCE    PHOTOGRAPHY  DESIGN    FOOD    THEATRE    FASHION    TRAVEL

 

Subscribe About Us Editorial Policy Privacy Policy Contact Us Unsubscribe  

Press Archives Search  

 

 

2010 eCognoscente