Canadian Women Film Directors Database
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Earth

Directed by Deepa Mehta
Canada / India, 1998 (fiction, 108 minutes, colour, English / Gujarati / Hindi / Punjabi / Urdu)
Also known as "1947: Earth", "1947: Föld", "Jaettu maa", "Terre", "Ziemia"

Film Description:
"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 (source)

Film Credits (partial):
Written by: Deepa Mehta
Based on: Cracking India, a novel by Bapsi Sidhwa
Produced by: Sean Atkinson, David Hamilton, Anne Masson, Deepa Mehta, Dilip Mehta, Jhamu Sughand
Principal Cast: 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
Cinematography: Giles Nuttgens
Film Editing: Barry Farrell
Music: A. R. Rahman
Production Company: Kaleidoscope-India, Cracking Earth Films (Canada)
(sources)

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 (source)

"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 (source)

"[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 (source)

"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 (source)

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 (source)

Bibliography for Earth

Books

Book Chapters

Brief Sections of Books

Journal Articles

Brief Sections of Journal Articles

Newspaper or Magazine Articles

Dissertation Chapters

Web Sites about Earth


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