Sunday, September 09, 2007

Movie Review: The Blue Umbrella

We watched this film by Vishal Bharadwaj, which was based on a children's short story by Ruskin Bond.

While this film is dubbed a children's film, it's really made for adults. There is a lot of singing and dancing by kids in the beginning, and then the story takes a slower pace. I'm not sure if today's children can sit through the slower scenes. Even the grown up children in the room wanted it to move a little bit more. But, the topic and story is ideal for a patient and reflective child.

It's a simple and uncomplicated story, set in a small village in Himachal Pradesh. A little girl chances upon a blue umbrella and makes a valuable trade for it. She receives lots of attention from the villagers. Actor Pankaj Kapur plays a stodgy storeowner who sets about to procure it and receive the same accolades and attention.

The messages in the story are important. We saw the umbrella as just an umbrella. The villagers saw this as something more - so it's challenging for us to change perspective and try to empathize with the characters.

There's also the grander message about ego and pride, and the risks involved when ethics are abandoned to attain fame. I would add that this movie showed the power of one little girl, which illustrates how critically woven lives are.

The movie is visually appealing with backdrop of beautiful mountains and the snow. Now that I think about it, the pace of the movie is reflective of the life of the characters. Things move slowly. Seasons move quickly, but people's attitudes and customs do not change.

This film relies on lots of quiet scenes and cute snapshots, as if the viewer were tourists in this village. For filmmakers, I don't know if it's more challenging creatively to adapt a large novel (e.g., Harry Potter V-VII) or to take a short story ("Brokeback Mountain" "Cat in the Hat") and pull it into a full feature length film.

It does have a happy ending, a moral and peaceful resolution - promoting the abandonment of material and embracing humans.

1 comment:

ZenDenizen said...

That hairdo reminds me of all my mom's childhood pics!