is a remarkable Indian portrait of a suicide bomber. Ayesha Dharker (who appears in Star Wars, Episode II
) gives a heart-rending performance as Malli, a 19-year-old girl whose loved ones have died in an unnamed conflict. From the harsh opening, in which Malli executes a traitor, the film follows her river journey--evoking thoughts of Apocalypse Now
--and preparations to turn herself into a human bomb. Then Malli learns something that makes her question her assumptions, and as she rediscovers her humanity the drama builds to one of the most nerve-wracking conclusions in recent cinema.
By using generic names such as the Leader and the VIP the film assumes universal relevance, depicting how violence and expediency can turn people into terrorist killing machines. Yet despite the material there is extraordinary poetic beauty in writer, cinematographer and director Santosh (Asoka) Sivan's presentation. He fills the screen with astounding images, precisely composed, focused and lit, while incorporating haunting symbols of love and hate, life and death, memories and dreams. The evocative use of sound also contributes to an extremely atmospheric experience and the result is an intense, subtly powerful film which will appeal to anyone entranced by Picnic at Hanging Rock (1975) or Three Colours Blue (1993).--Gary S Dalkin
Actors: Ayesha Dharker, Vishnu Vardan, Bhana Prakash, Parmeshwaran, K. KrishnaDirector: Santosh SivanManufacturer: Tartan