CATEGORIES Drama, Foreign Language, Awards, Celebrities and Controversy, Fox Searchlight, Cinematical Indie, Awards, CinematicalIt has been a long journey for the Canadian, Indian-language film, Water. The third in director Deepa Mehta's trilogy of elements (Earth and Fire being the previous two) addresses the abysmal lives of widows in India. Based on the belief that marriage unites the soul, and thus death makes the widow half-dead, Water follows the disheartening tradition of taking the woman's colorful apparel, giving her a white sari and moving her into abject poverty within ashrams for widows. Obviously, questioning tradition raised trouble for film, as Kim Voynar previously touched on in her review and her news that the film could be submitted for Oscar consideration as a foreign film (it's now nommed for Best Foreign Pic).
The producer of Water, David Hamilton, recently spoke to the Ottawa Sun about the ordeal to get the film made, and sheds light on just what they want through in the process -- which puts common working gripes into perspective. According to Hamilton, "I used to get calls in the middle of the night saying they were going to rape and kill the actors, the actresses, the director... We had our phones tapped, they had a mole in our production office, they were pretty well-organized." A number of films inspire unstable fanatics to issue death threats, but those received by the crew of the film were more than the police in India could take. After "riots, burning effigies, and the threat of more violence," their permit was removed and the filmmakers fled.
The devastation over the ordeal is what led Mehta to write and direct Bollywood/Hollywood to give the emotionally charged filmmakers some much-needed fun. After their comic foray and some re-grouping, the team once again starting shooting the film in Sri Lanka, it became the first Canadian film to be picked up by Fox Searchlight and it now has a chance to win the Oscar for Best Foreign Film. Pan's Labyrinth is the obvious favourite, but Hamilton is hopeful: "I think we have a shot." Whether they do or not, they definitely win the golden statue for dedication and perseverence.