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Sunday, December 23, 2007

 

Films, Old and New

*

"Pride & Prejudice" Revisited

After watching a few new releases full of violent, gory scenes it was a pleasure to sit back and enjoy Pride & Prejudice on DVD....the 1995 BBC miniseries with Jennifer Ehle as Elizabeth Bennett and Colin Firth as Darcy. Ms Austen's famed novel portrayed the lives and customs of upper class British landowners. Of course, some intrigues and backstabbing took place among them but not to a degree to cast a lasting shadow over the romance that developed between Lizzie Bennett and the smoldering Fitzwilliam Darcy. They followed manners and codes in social interactions that are no longer observed.

Witty dialogue, great rural scenes of England, costumes of 19th century, and excellent acting by all major characters.

"It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife." -- Jane Austen, Pride & prejudice (First published January 1813)

It was a different world.
*

The Kite Runner * Afghanistan * Pakistan

I found Khaled Hosseini's second novel A Thousand Splendid Suns more impressive than the acclaimed Kite Runner, recently released on screen. After a good beginning, The Kite Runner -- novel and the film both -- left me disappointed. The end seemed to be too easy, unreal.

Never visited Afghanistan but I spent some days in Karachi during the Russian invasion of Afghanistan when the city was full of Afghan refugees living in pitiful conditions. General Muhammad Zia-Ul-Haq was the president after acquiring power in 1977 in a coup against Zulfikar Ali Bhutto....the late father of Benazir Bhutto. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was hanged after a rigged trial.

It was the holy month of Ramadan. The waiter at the restaurant in Karachi Hilton refused to serve me lunch until I produced my passport to prove that I was not a Muslim. No wonder. It was during President Zia's rule that the atrocious Hudood Ordinance (Shari'a law) was introduced in Pakistan. Are the Pakistani Muslims who supported such laws any better than the Taliban in Afghanistan ? In 2006, General Musharraf, the current president, pushed for and succeeded in revising/replacing the Hudood by the Women's Protection Bill.

No Country for Old Men

Lot of violence. Somewhat like a modern western film. Worth watching though. Great acting by Tommy Lee Jones and Javier Bardem.

American Gangster

Based on real-life characters, the film failed to leave a mark. Three weeks after watching the movie all I remember is that Denzel Washington and Russell Crow acted in it.

*****



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