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Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Race Wars


A few nights ago Sally and I watched the movie, "Earth", the 2nd in Deepa Mehta's trilogy about India. The whole trilogy is amazing and disturbing. But this film belongs to another family of art that delves into societies, communities, and psyches that start in a state of coexistence if not harmony and descend into hatred and horrific "us vs. them" violence . I'm thinking of the novel "Stones from the River" by Ursula Hegi that takes place in a village in Germany as the Nazis come to power. Also the film "No Man's Land" where two Bosnians and a Serb are trapped in a foxhole together. I'm thinking of the documentary, "Hebron" that documents life before and during a local massacre in a town that has become synonymous with sectarian violence. Those works draw me like a moth to a candle, yet still so much escapes me. I feel as if I need to keep rewinding and playing parts back in slo-mo to understand the moment of transition.

"Earth" is about a group of friends - Sikh, Muslim, and Hindu young men who are split apart as India gains its independence from Britain and Muslim leaders demand their own land. It is the rare person who refuses to buy into the emotions of mistrust and vengeance that accompany escalating acts of violence.

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