CITY OF JOY
DIRECTOR: ROLAND JOFFE
USA 1992
CAST: Patrick Swayze, Pauline Collins, Om Puri, Art Malik
MUSIC: Ennio Morricone
ONE WORD: Nice story and film.


India is not always a pleasant place to make a film look good....unless you are David Lean.

With a good story, and a bit of a moral tale to tell you how fickle we can be, this film plods along and is actually nice. For once, there is poetic justice, though it appears at times that all is lost, and the film ends in a positive mode, even without the ever demanding love affair in the middle of nowhere to tease us. In the middle of Delhi, or Calcutta, it would certainly look ridiculous.

As an American trying to get away from the expectations he can not meet of, and from, himself, a young American doctor leaves America for a trip to the east, presumably to find who and what he is all about. And he gets entwined in a local battle with the local nurse, an English woman, who is having a fight with a feudal landlord whose son wants to manipulate the neighborhood into his own private mafia.

While the film gets its digs in, to the American way of laziness and too much talk and not enough action, it is also the courage and spirit of the American young man that carries the 'street' people into believing themselves enough that they can change their situation for the best, thereby affecting a change, for a people who are often feeling defeated, and have little chance of turning things around.

This is a good film, to tell people what to expect in India. While it may not be as vivid, or as out in the open as the film makes it, the stealing of anything is as much a part of life in India, as death is. The film, also casually mentions the changes which American society is having on the world, from its women becoming freer to be themselves, to people being able to win more battles against an oppressive manipulation born out of the feudal system, or the cast system, which has been in place for thousands of years.

Patrick Swayze is good, and is tears up his 'symbol' status, by doing very unusual film roles, in films that actually have an interesting thread and cleverness to it. This is a nice film.

See it for enjoyment, not for Swayze, or meaning.

3 GIBLOONS

 

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