Saturday, February 10, 2007

Mr. & Mrs. Iyer (2002)

One of the first things I thought after watching this film besides, "How wonderfully sweet," was that I can name four female Indian directors (Nair, Metha, Chadha, Sen) and which of their films I've enjoyed but I'd be hard pressed to do the same for female American directors white, black or otherwise! [Off the top of my head, the only one I can think of is Debbie Allen. That's because she directed one of my favorite Disney musicals.]

At any rate, I really liked the feel of this film. It's mostly quiet with punctuated bursts of intensity speckled throughout. I like that all the characters are very natural, that the intersection of languages, cultures and religious beliefs didn't seem trite and forcefully manipulated and I love that the baby in this movie was SO cute that besides wanting to kidnap him, I'm quite sure even GAP babies bow at his glance.

One of the interesting things about women writers is that our stories are more likely to be character driven rather than plot-point parades. Mr. and Mrs. Iyer is a great example of that--in the midst of a constant threat of terror, the more compelling story is not that of a police officer who stakes out a terrorist lair and takes down the bad guys, it's that of a woman dependant on a man who is emotionally obligated to her safety despite the tension of their clearly differing worldviews. I know, not exactly James Bond but it's the stuff of life!

I also appreciated the rare exploration of bonding under duress and the function of growing familiarity between two people of the opposite sex. There's a part of me that wants to write an unnecessarily detailed psychological character analysis but suffice it to say that I can't think of a more realistic portrayal of the role "fascination of difference" plays in attraction.

I had been meaning to watch this one for quite some time. I'm quite glad I did.


Alan said...

Penny Marshall (League of Their Own) and Sofia Coppola (Lost In Translation) came to mind right away.

Also Farah Khan (Main Hoon Na) on the Bollywood side.

Beth said...

Yeah I second Farah Khan! Where would I be without Main Hoon Na? Very sad, that's where.

indianoguy said...

For a male chauvinistic society like India I find it strange and heartening that it managed to produce such a talented and strong women.
Even in politics we had remarkable women like Indira Gandhi (I call her worlds first and only lady dictator), Jaya Lalitha and Uma Bharathi

Getting back to Mr & Mrs Iyer, it is my all time favourite movie. Konkana is just brilliant. For Non Indians her performance might not strike as brilliant, but being a Bengali, she did that Tamil housewife's role exceptionally well. be it the accent or the body language, its one of the best performance by a female actor I have ever seen.

t-hype said...

I've heard Penny Marshall's name but for some reason I had her in my mind as a writer. She's directed 7 films and I've seen 4.5 of them!

I definitely forgot that Farah Khan has started directing. I always think of her a fabulous choreographer!

t-hype said...

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that I did at one point think of Sofia Coppola but I don't like her movies!

indiana jane said...

another noted female director is Sai Paranjape, now almost retired who made movies like "Sparsh" and "Chasme Buddoor"

Daddy's Girl said...

I like Nora Ephron's work. I'm looking forward to Farah Khan's next film - I really liked Main Hoon Na.

anneonymousone said...

Julie Dash (an African-American woman) wrote the script for and directed the movie, then wrote the novel _Daughters of the Dust_. The cinematography is exquisite; every image could be framed and hung on the wall accompanied by oohs and aahs. I watched the movie, immediately rewound it, and watched it again. No other movie ahs required that of me. The movie and the novel are both good reasons to live.

There is also a book about the making of the film.

I'm at my screen name at yahoo dot com. Bill me for the rental or purchase of the movie if you don't like it.