Canada / India, 1998 (fiction, 108 minutes, colour, English / Gujarati / Hindi / Punjabi / Urdu)
Also known as
"1947: Earth", "1947: Föld", "Jaettu maa", "Terre", "Ziemia"
"Earth is a love story gone sour in 1940s Lahore (present-day Pakistan), in which Ayah, the protagonist Lenny's beautiful nanny and constant companion, is used and abused by the men around her, especially Ice-candy-man, even as she shares a loving relationship with Lenny herself. The Hindu Ayah's two Muslim suitors, Ice-candy-man and Masseur, are set up as contrasts, the former being at first carefree and funny but letting the beast within him surface when the violence and destruction starts later in the film; the latter being gentle and understanding and eventually killed for his efforts to help those in need of protection."
-- Joya Uraizee
|Film Credits (partial):
||Cracking India, a novel by Bapsi Sidhwa|
||Sean Atkinson, David Hamilton, Anne Masson, Deepa Mehta, Dilip Mehta, Jhamu Sughand|
||Nandita Das, Aamir Khan, Rahul Khanna, Gulshan Grover, Maia Sethna, Kitu Gidwani, Kulbushan Kharbanda, Arif Zakaria, Eric Peterson, Pavan Malhotra, Sunil Mehra, Navtej Singh Johar|
||A. R. Rahman|
||Kaleidoscope-India, Cracking Earth Films (Canada)|
Quote by the Director
"I think it would be absolutely impossible to make Earth today [in 2017]. I don't think we'd get a big movie star to do it. But more than that, just the scale of it. And people are so vigilant about protecting anything that's Hindu. Even if we could shoot, it would never get through the censor board today. Not a chance in hell. I don't think it will be about the politics, it will be about a love scene."
-- Deepa Mehta
Quotes about Earth
"Earth is a story about human harmony expressed through the desire for
fairer gender, social, and religious relations. Although caste is surprisingly bypassed, by focusing on the relationships of characters from different religious and social backgrounds, [Deepa] Mehta seems to suggest that people are victims of artificially fabricated political tensions rather than the cause or catalyst of such tensions. In that sense, the film is based on the premise that religious and ethnic relations in Lahore deteriorated only after and as a result of Partition."
-- Sekhar Bandyopadhyay
"With one hand [Deepa] Mehta offers the familiar gesture of memory as commemoration and forgetting—the neat national narrative of partition as the cost of independence, as a part of a national history that exists only in the past—and with the other hand she takes away the comfort of resting in this narrative. By refusing to resolve either Shanta's abduction or Lenny's experience of loss and trauma, Earth constructs a form of partition memory that is as much about the present as about the past and that speaks to the necessity of engaging with divisive and violent histories in order to enable new kinds of community in the future."
-- Jeannette Herman
"Bapsi Sidhwa's novel is written in English, and although she wrote the screenplay in English as well, Mehta decided to make the film in Hindi titled Earth. 'Most of the characters in Earth are working class people and the thought of them speaking English in 1947 felt ludicrous, though some relevant scenes remain in English.'"
-- Somdatta Mandal
"[Deepa] Mehta's trilogy [Fire, Earth, and Water] binds the elemental with the feminine and probes the way women are preyed upon and shackled by social institutions, pulverized and bartered by patriarchy. The trilogy represents in its totality a powerful and significant cultural challenge to the dominating masculine values and practices of oppression, subjugation and exploitation of women. Since Mehta happens to be a woman director, her courage in the face of intimidation by the largely patriarchal forces must be acknowledged as the immensely relevant preface to her film Water."
-- Tutun Mukherjee
"Living in India in this anniversary year [2017, the 70th anniversary of the partition of India], I recently watched Earth for the first time in fifteen years. In one hundred luminous minutes, [Deepa] Mehta captures the scale of India's division with nuance, cinematic eloquence, and emotional depth. The film is an historical drama that circumvents its staid genre by shifting the focus away from leaders and rallies to a small group of friends ripped apart by politics. It is an intimate piece that ruptures and expands in scale as history intervenes. Earth feels both timeless and timely. Since its first screening at the Toronto International Film Festival, it has aged into a new wisdom and relevance."
-- Bilal Qureshi
"Deepa Mehta's Earth is a painful and horrifying tale of the partition of India and its aftermath. Its technical accomplishments alone make it worthy of attention: an economic and imaginative use of colours, sound, sophisticated cross-cutting, editing and graphic compositions which are sometimes as detailed and evocative as paintings. [...] The film seems to work as a mirror image of the rise of communal frenzy, hatred and violence in India [in the 1940s], but in reflecting that rise the film may be most important as an attempt to expose it to the Indian audience that was so involved in this frenzy."
-- Neelam Raisinghani
"Deepa Mehta came across my book, Cracking India [US title
of Ice-Candy-Man], and decided: 'this is the film I want to make, this is Earth!' [...] So she started to work on the screenplay and, whenever she finished a section, she would send it to me—we would fax each other in those days; I would suggest alterations, but very soon I backed off. I realized her cinematic vision was more important for the film than my writer's vision. I am glad about it, because in this way she was free to make the film as she did. I had different ideas about how to render Lenny's thoughts in the film; I imagined them as a voice-over heard on a close-up of Ice-candy-man's toes for example, darting up Ayah's saris, whatever. But Deepa said she was uncomfortable with voice-overs. She would hold the camera at an angle that would represent Lenny's vision."
-- Bapsi Sidhwa
Quote about Earth [in French]
"Si la cinéaste avait attiré notre attention il y a deux ans avec son film précédent, l'audacieux et courageux Fire, elle nous livre ici un récit trop simplistement romantique et un peu trop mélodramatique."
-- Adrien Gonzalez-Ibbitson
Bibliography for Earth
Chadha, Simran. "Marginalised by Domesticity: The (Un) Desirable Women of Deepa Mehta's Trilogy - Fire, Earth and Water."
In Films, Literature, and Culture: Deepa Mehta's Elements Trilogy, edited by Jasbir Jain, 85-99. Jaipur: Rawat Publications, 2007.
Chatterjee, Madhuri. "Women's Bodies, Women's Voices: Exploring Women's Sensuality in Deepa Mehta's Trilogy."
In Films, Literature, and Culture: Deepa Mehta's Elements Trilogy, edited by Jasbir Jain, 75-84. Jaipur: Rawat Publications, 2007.
Fung, Amy. "Earth."
In The Cinema of Canada, edited by Jerry White, 214-222. London: Wallflower, 2006.
Jain, Jasbir. "The Diasporic Eye and the Evolving I: Deepa Media's Elements Trilogy."
In Films, Literature, and Culture: Deepa Mehta's Elements Trilogy, edited by Jasbir Jain, 54-74. Jaipur: Rawat Publications, 2007.
Jodha, Avinash. "Packaging India: The Fabric of Deepa Mehta's Cinematic Art."
In Films, Literature, and Culture: Deepa Mehta's Elements Trilogy, edited by Jasbir Jain, 39-53. Jaipur: Rawat Publications, 2007.
Mandal, Somdatta. "Re-Presenting the Partition of India: From Bapsi Sidhwa to Deepa Mehta."
In Films, Literature, and Culture: Deepa Mehta's Elements Trilogy, edited by Jasbir Jain, 142-155. Jaipur: Rawat Publications, 2007.
Raisinghani, Neelam. "Wounded India in Deepa Mehta's 1947-Earth."
In Films, Literature, and Culture: Deepa Mehta's Elements Trilogy, edited by Jasbir Jain, 156-167. Jaipur: Rawat Publications, 2007.
Shastri, Sudha. "Looking for Ways of Representation: 'Looking' as a Trope in 1947-Earth."
In Films, Literature, and Culture: Deepa Mehta's Elements Trilogy, edited by Jasbir Jain, 128-141. Jaipur: Rawat Publications, 2007.
Brief Sections of Books
Monk, Katherine. Weird Sex and Snowshoes: And Other Canadian Film Phenomena. Vancouver: Raincoast Books, 2001.
Bandyopadhyay, Sekhar, and Giacomo Lichtner. "Indian Cinema and the Presentist Use of History: Conceptions of 'Nationhood' in Earth and Lagaan." Asian Survey 48, no. 3 (2008): 431-452.
Barenscott, Dorothy. "'This Is Our Holocaust': Deepa Mehta's Earth and the Question of Partition Trauma." Mediascape (Spring 2006).
Budde, Robert. "The 'Valuable Deformity': Calipers and the Failed Trope of Postcolonial Debt in Deepa Mehta's Earth." Canadian Journal of Film Studies / Revue canadienne d'études cinématographiques 17, no. 1 (Spring 2008): 44-51.
Chowdhary, Reema, and Nirmala Menon. "Muslim Identity and Representation in Deepa Mehta's Earth and Abhishek Kapur's Kai Po Che." Postcolonial Text 11, no. 2 (2016).
Gairola, Rahul K. "Brooms of Doom: Notes on Domestic Bodies Gendered to Death in Mughal-e-Azam, Fire, and Earth." South Asian Review 39, no. 3-4 (October 2018): 283-297.
Herman, Jeanette. "Memory and Melodrama: The Transnational Politics of Deepa Mehta's Earth." Camera Obscura 20, no. 1 58 (2005): 107-147.
Majithia, Sheetal. "Rethinking Postcolonial Melodrama and Affect." Modern Drama 58, no. 1 (2015): 1-23.
Neutill, Rani. "Bending Bodies, Borders and Desires in Bapsi Sidhwa's Cracking India and Deepa Mehta's Earth." South Asian Popular Culture 8, no. 1 (April 2010): 73-87.
Qureshi, Bilal. "The Discomforting Legacy of Deepa Mehta's Earth." Film Quarterly 70, no. 4 (2017): 77-82.
Shailo, Iqbal. "Bollywood of India: Geopolitical Texts of Belonging and Difference and Narratives of Mistrust and Suspicion." CINEJ Cinema Journal 5, no. 2 (2016): 105-129.
Uraizee, Joya. "Gazing at the Beast: Describing Mass Murder in Deepa Mehta's Earth and Terry George's Hotel Rwanda." Shofar 28, no. 4 (Summer 2010): 10-28.
Brief Sections of Journal Articles
Bruschi, Isabella. "Making up with Painful History: The Partition of India in Bapsi Sidhwa's Work; Bapsi Sidhwa Interviewed by Isabella Bruschi." Interview with Bapsi Sidhwa. Journal of Commonwealth Literature 43, no. 3 (2008). (pp. 148-149)
Newspaper or Magazine Articles
Gonzalez-Ibbitson, Adrien. "Earth." Review of Earth. Séquences, November-December 1999.
Kemp, Philip. "Earth." Review of Earth. Sight & Sound, June 2000.
Klady, Leonard. "Earth." Review of Earth. Variety, October 12, 1998.
Parmar, Prabhjot. "Cartographic Split, Sectarian Strife, and Desire for Peace: Deepa Mehta and Earth."
In "Divided Land, Divided Bodies: Representations of Nationalism and Violence in Literature and Films on the Partition of India," 229-245. PhD diss., University of Western Ontario, 2007.
Web Sites about Earth