Monday, May 25, 2009

Roberto Rossellini's "India: Matri Bhumi" (1959)


A rhythmic voyage of our psyche like no other...

A film about the individual, the civilisation, and the "communal multitude" with the animals, the plants, and cosmos, "the big mother".



It's a mirror of our primitive nature, our internal, biologic fears, and the rituals imposed on us by the society.



An ode to work, to symbiosis... The film viewer has never been so close to death, to the horrors of life...



India: Matri Bhumi is a celebration of human consciousness, of nature, the unpredictable, the unwritten future, the perpetual now, the moment...



We need artists such as Rossellini to remind us that creation is still in process...





Fred Camper cites India: Matri Bhumi among his three favorite films of all time, calling it "mystical" and "expansive".

I find his description of the earlier prints of the film very valuable since, unfortunately, all the existing prints have deteriorated (slightly or immensely, depending on where you draw your lines):
'About "India" prints: was the one that those who saw it found "serviceable" harsh and high contrast, sort of like Kodachrome printed onto Kodachrome? Because the film in 1970 had very gentle, very sensuous, very supple colors, which seemed crucial to its nature as a kind of inventory of the sensual pleasures of what virtual all tourists call an extremely colorful country. The prints I saw might seem OK to someone who hadn't seen the earlier print, in that the color at least wasn't tinted one way or the other. But the colors and surfaces lacked detail and texture.'

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