Regent Square Theater: May 20 @ 4:30 PM- CLOSING NIGHT
Passes not accepted on Opening/Closing Night. Please arrive at least 15 minutes ahead of start time to ensure availability of seating. Film schedule and Q & A's are subject to change.
2010/UK/Director: Michael Winterbottom/117 min.
Cast: Freida Pinto, Riz Ahmed, Roshan Seth and Kalki Koechlin (Language: English)
Festivals and Awards: Toronto, Abu Dhabi, London
In his third film adaptation of the novelist Thomas Hardy, director Michael Winterbottom reimagines the tragic novel Tess of the d'Urbervilles in contemporary India. Subtitled “A Pure Woman Faithfully Presented,” Hardy’s novel challenged sexual mores of Victorian England with harsh realism. In a similar stride, Trishna attempts to expose the cruelty of sexual double-standards through the plight of an impoverished woman struggling to survive in a globalized world.
The heroine Tess becomes the lovely Trishna, the daughter of an auto rickshaw driver. She is played by the stunning Freida Pinto, who made her big screen debut in the Academy Award winning film Slumdog Millionaire.
Fate befalls Trishna when Jay (Riz Ahmed), a wealthy British-Indian traveler, notices her while touring an ancient temple. A few days later, Trishna and her father suffer a tragic automobile accident. She breaks her arm and the family’s only vehicle and way of life is destroyed. Out of compassion and lust, Jay offers Trishna the opportunity to work at one of his father’s luxury hotels.
The film follows the novel’s arch with Jay serving as both the flirtatious “Angel” and sinister “Alec.” Trishna falls for Jay’s charm, but when his romantic intentions take a turn for the worse Trishna leaves the hotel feeling scared and confused. She returns home, only to find out three months later that she is pregnant.
Although Hardy’s novel was published over one hundred years ago, Trishna shows that women today still face social stigma for being “unchaste” before marriage. Growing gaps in social and economic class, as Winterbottom displays in both rural and urban India, continue to oppress women and drive them into desperation. Trishna herself has few options– she can live unwed with Jay, become a Bollywood dancer in Mumbai, or struggle to support her family – leaving her little power to change her destiny.
In scenes between Jay and Trishna, Winterbottom depicts the immensity of sexual emotions on a spectrum of lustful to painful. As Jay slowly strips Trishna of her sexual autonomy, she becomes increasingly desperate for a way out, and is finally forced to choose the most tragic of fates.
An eclectic and gorgeous soundtrack of Indian tabla, classical strings and Bollywood and British pop songs, accompanies the film’s diverse atmospheres and emotional upheavals. Ahmed and Pinto give dazzling performances as they switch their onscreen chemistry between tenderness and seduction to bitter resentment. The film draws this classic story in a new light, representing the brutality of life through a fragile heroine.
Content Advisory: Contains sexual situations and violence