Best Foreign Language Film Nominees

This is the final Oscars preview I’ll be doing before Sunday. This is my favorite category and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that Pan’s Labyrinth will win.

After The Wedding (Denmark)

Days of Glory (Algeria)

The Lives of Others (Germany)

Pan’s Labyrinth (Mexico) [my review]

Water (Canada) [my review]

Review: Water (2005)

Every now and then a movie comes along that is powerful, heartbreaking, and uplifting all at once. Water, which examines the plight of widows in 1930s India, is such a film.

When her husband dies, eight-year-old Chuyia (Sarala) is forced to live out her life in a temple for Hindu widows. She and fourteen other women live in poverty and under the watch of a cruel headmistress. Because she only a child, Chuyia does not understand her situation. She throws tempers tantrums, cries for her mother, and causes problems for the other widows.

Chuyia forms a strong relationship with Kalyani (Lisa Ray), a young widow, who works as a prostitute to provide money for the temple. Kalyani serves as a much needed mother figure for young Chuyia.

Director Deepa Mehta further examines the lives of these women with the arrival of Narayan (John Abraham), a follower of Ghandi. Like Ghandi, he believes that widows should not be forced into a life of poverty but instead they should be allowed to remarry. Narayan’s presence only complicates the widows’ lives, when he and Kalyani fall in love.

Water is a fascinating picture that resonates. With the prominent themes of culture, religion, love, adolescence, and womanhood, it is wonderfully effective and beautiful film. Most importantly, it is a must-see.

Updated October 11, 2010