The Review/Video/

Deepa Mehta: "Being an immigrant in Canada means displacement"

Making a masterful Canadian film about life in India

by
Jun 27, 2017

How do we define Canadian cinema? So many people in this country, filmmakers included, came from somewhere else. This cultural displacement can create a powerful and unique perspective — something that is highly evident in the work of Indo-Canadian director Deepa Mehta.

In this video essay, Mehta talks about her Oscar-nominated 2005 film Water, and how Canada’s spirit of inclusion and diversity helped her make it.

Water is set in Varanasi in the late 1930s during Gandhi's non-violent protests and campaign to better the condition of women. The film takes place in an ashram where widows both old and young — the youngest is only seven — are sent to live out their lives in austerity after the deaths of their husbands. When a beautiful young widow (Lisa Ray) who has been forced into prostitution by the ashram's imperious overseer begins an affair with a wealthy follower of Gandhi, the stage is set for tragedy. At once intimate and epic, Water was an international hit and received an Oscar nomination for Best Foreign Language Film.


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