Saturday, October 20, 2012

Post colonial sentimentality

Rewatched The Jewel in the Crown. And tried to do the same with A Passage to India*.

Both insufferably self-superior anti-colonialist flix, with the usual false comfort of moral autopsy.

I couldn't get past the first half hour of Passage. It was a cartoon set-up. What is it with White ethical self-flagellation? No other culture on earth abases itself like that for its success.

And in both flix, it is female curiosity and refusal to respect boundaries (suggesting a sense of superiority and entitlement) which precipitates the tragedies on which the narratives are built. And in both cases, it is the Indians suffer most for these women's highminded arrogance.

Reminds me of another story...**

*The transgressive heroine here is Judy Davis, whose career seems to be built on playing terminally irritable narcissists incapable of being satisfied.

**I find myself in partial agreement with a feminista. See how open minded I can be? It's true that the same female curiosity and boundary-breaking are what create the narrative. No crime, no story.


PS in North West Frontier aka Flame Over India (1959), we find a similar structure. Lauren Bacall plays an American woman among a group of people trying to escape on a creaky train from a Muslim uprising against a Hindu maharajah in 1905. Although the egalitarian humanist voice gets a full throated portrayal by Bacall, it's within the old trope of a woman and a man (the military man of duty) enacting attraction via aggression. And, startlingly, (SPOILER)...the righteously angry half-breed does indeed turn out to be a Bad Guy AND Ms. Bacall discovers the wisdom of using a gun at the right time, even admitting the trip had taught her some new things. The final words between the solider and the boy prince make the plot even more un-idealistic. A good flick.

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...