Water (2005, Deepa Mehta)

A social issues movie. Indians girls who are widowed (before even realizing they were married in some cases) are sent to live in widow-houses as beggars and whores. Our little protagonist and a free-spirited strong-willed young woman daren’t defy their fat tradition-bound elders, and so surrender to their fates till a young male idealist, too late to save the young woman, sacrifices the girl to the Gandhi Train. Before that, the y.w. drowns herself in the river, our girl brings holy water (too late) to a dying woman, and a parrot is murdered.

Full of pretty shots and good performances, but in retrospect a lightweight and obvious script. Seems the whole movie is meant to make us feel bad about these widows, being oppressed by their religion/culture, like Los Olvidados or Salaam Bombay. None seem quite as good, or quite as depressing as Germany Year Zero, but depressing poor-people movies are never my favorites. Nor are happy rich-people movies, for that matter. Katy seemed to like it, but didn’t say much.