February 2003 Events
 
3rd I presents, in association with the
San Francisco International Film Festival
 
 
Chokher Bali: A Passion Play
India 2003 | 147 minutes | In Bengali with English subtitles
Directed by Rituparno Ghosh
Cast - Aishwarya Rai, Prosenjit Chatterjee, Raima Sen, Tota Ray-Chaudhuri, Lily Chakrabarty
Sat, Apr 23 • 6:15 pm • Kabuki, San Francisco
Sun, May 1 • 8:00 pm • Aquarius, Palo Alto
 
Chokher Bali, or literally, “Sand in the Eye,” is the most expensive art movie to come out of India and combines the talents of one of its most revered independent directors, Rituparno Ghosh (Lady of the House, SFIFF 2000; Cross Fire, SFIFF 1998), and Aishwarya Rai, one of its most famed young Bollywood stars. Based on the novel by beloved Bengali writer Rabindranath Tagore, the film opens in 1902. The turn of the century brings both raging political turmoil over the proposed partition of the State of Bengal by the British, as well as a new social order of liberation and the rejection of old customs. Against this turbulent backdrop, the life of a young widow is explored and paralleled with a country’s struggle for independence and freedom. When Binodini (Aishwarya Rai in a performance of great subtlety and grace) moves in with family friends, the relationships between her and this well-to-do family become a tangled web of destiny and desire. The film’s finely modulated melodrama, shot with a lush, ochre-tinged color palette, delves into the shifting triangles, complex motivations and subtle play of emotions of four young friends who develop forbidden attractions for each other.
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Black Friday
India 2004 | 142 minutes | In Hindi with English subtitles
Directed by Anurag Kashyap
Cast - Kay Kay Menon, Aditya Srivastava, Pawan Malhotra
Wed, Apr 27 • 6:00 pm • Kabuki, San Francisco
Sat, Apr 30 • 9:00 pm • PFA, Berkeley
 
Car bombs are a staple of today’s news, but for Western viewers Black Friday may be their first encounter with the day of terror that gripped Bombay in March of 1993. With 270 characters and a complicated story to tell, this is a riveting, fast-paced epic bound to become a classic. Anurag Kashyap reconstructs events leading to the day of terror starting first with the bombings, then with the police investigation, as one character after another is tracked down. There’s plenty of underlying rage, mostly directed at the role of Pakistan’s secret services in transforming a ragtag crew of local Muslims into a lethal team out to avenge the loss of life and property they suffered at the hands of Hindu mobs some six months earlier. No one gets off the hook as we watch ordinary, desperate men turned into crack killers and then left to fend for themselves as the noose of an expanding investigation tightens. The most chilling scenes are police interrogations during which one’s sympathies yo-yo unbearably between the chief inspector (Kay Kay Menon) and the hapless perpetrators and their relatives. Black Friday contains some of the most dramatically intense material to hit the big screen in years, including perhaps the very best chase scene of all time—all on foot.
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