i went to see "the best exotic marigold hotel for the elderly and beautiful" last week. it was recommended by a friend, and well worth seeing. in fact, it's the only time i've ever seen queues at the lido cinema in hamilton, with shows being sold out. so i'm expecting that many people will have seen it by now.
there's so many things to love about this film, from the cast and performances, to the comedy, the plot etc etc. i loved that it was funny without being demeaning. the racism was funny because it was poking fun at racism, and i loved maggie smith's character. the underlying concept of the film is hardly new - the british traveller abroad, dazzling the locals with ignorance, or finding themselves in an exotic land. but the execution was very good.
if there were any downsides (come on, nothing's perfect!), for me they were the whole forced marriage thing, and the cliched presentation of india. as regards the former, it's so stereotypical - young people falling in love with someone without parental approval, and being pressured to marry a more suitable candidate they hardly know. it's almost like this is the only way indians ever get married. would be nice to see a film where a couple agrees to an arranged marriage and live happily ever after. it happens quite a bit after all.
but having said that, probably two thirds of bollywood films have the same plot line. it seems every culture keeps wanting to see variations of the star-crossed lovers theme, the romeo & juliet (or in this case, salim & anarkali). so it's hardly unfair to criticise this particular film for having the same old story.
as for the cliched presentation of india, well actually it was mostly accurate. but the colours aren't anywhere near as bright as the movies would lead you to believe, and some kind of self-fulfilling enlightenment isn't generally to be found around the corner. it's a place, like most places around the world, filled with beauty and ugliness. maybe this is just a hangover of the whole eat pray love thing, where a privileged western woman finds enlightenment in india, and all the indians were asking "so where are we supposed to travel to for enlightenment, and how are we supposed to pay for it". there were some really good critiques of this by indians, which i can't seem to find just now.
still, i really did love the film. and speaking of films, i was directed to this article about an obscure piece of music that was used in the hunger games:
An underground legend—not only for her excellent music, but also for her engineering work at Bell Labs and her invention of the Music Mouse program for Macintosh computers—Spiegel deserves to be brought as far above-ground as can be managed. Countless synthesizer-driven acts in Brooklyn are, right this very second, criminally unaware of the debt they owe her, as she helped develop and codify the approach to a variety of early synths....
In addition to suffering from the persistent sexism of the music world—in the orchestra scene, women composers are still rarely commissioned—Spiegel has been the victim of straight-up theft, too: If you search for “Sediment” on Amazon, the album that will show up is volume 4 of An Anthology of Noise and Experimental Music, which never paid Spiegel for the song. How do I know? Because Spiegel reviewed the album on Amazon.