The usual trajectory of “genocide” movies takes it for granted that communal violence is something we possibly couldn’t understand. Its all supposed to be too brutal and confusing (e.g Earth(the movie), Hotel Rwanda etc.), based on ancient hatreds and religion. Amu takes a different tack, it unpeels the complexity of genocide as something that is planned and executed with precision, with some real goals in mind by its perpetrators. The film itself, though, manages to stay away from the perpetrators and concentrates instead on the people who are decent and the people who suffer. It leaves one surprisingly grief stricken.
As usual I am not surprised by the idiocy of the reviews. From the New York Times:
“Amu” wants to do many things at once: to find the personal in the political, to meld the two and to indict the Indian government. Ms. Bose, who also wrote the screenplay, isn’t yet a skilled enough filmmaker to weave these threads together seamlessly.
I guess all the decent reviewers like Manohla Dargis have gone to Cannes, so we are left with half-educated bimbos who can’t see beyond “identity politics” in a film with brown people in it. The Village Voice isn’t much better, so not even worth quoting here. Anyway, it opened in New York City today, and I hope many more people will go to see it. Its crucial for an independent film to get a good audience in its first week, it can mean a wider release. So please go and support this film. See Louis Proyect for another post on the film and the anti-Sikh riots.