Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan


(Canada/India, 2005)

Water (Canada/India, 2005) I hate fundamentalists of any religion, but Hinduism is particularly foul. There seems to be little of love in the Hindu pantheon, a collection of psychotics who would make a hyena queasy. One of the vilest traditions in the religion concerns widows, and even Muslim women fare better. You have three choices if your husband dies: Throw yourself on his funeral pyre, marry his younger brother (if he has one, if he’s willing) or live out your life in poverty, because you are a part of him, now and forever, amen, and must keep yourself chaste and penniless (unless you sell your body, because there’s nothing else society allows you to do) until you join him in death. This movie is set in 1938, when Gandhi was trying to reform some of this insanity, and concerns an 8-year-old widow (that’s not a typo: eight years old) who is sent by her family to an ashram to live out the rest of her life with the other widows, who are unclean. (Why, I don’t know, but don’t bother me, kid, it’s a tradition!) It is not a particularly insightful movie, and is rather slow, its whole purpose being to show this monstrosity—a good thing, for sure—but with a love story that seems tacked on. The most interesting things happened off camera, in what passes in India for the real world. The sets were burned by Hindu fundamentalists. Were they actually supporting this tradition, which still goes on in some cultural backwaters and, for all I know, in the big cities, too, or did they just not like the fact that it made their stupid religion look bad? For whatever reason, the government was going to shut down production, which had to be moved to Sri Lanka. That sound you hear is Gandhi weeping.