Tess becomes Trishna
Following a very successful fall festival, the Vernon Film Society will show Trishna on Monday.
The movie, the third in a series of movies adapted from the novels of Thomas Hardy by director and screen writer Michael Winterbottom, is adapted from Hardy’s novel Tess of the D’Urbervilles.
Winterbottom has simplified the plot and dropped all references to religion. Perhaps his boldest step is combining the two main male characters of the novel into one person.
They become united into Jay Singh (Riz Ahmel), the well-educated son and heir of a wealthy East Indian (Roshan Seth), who made his money in property development in England and is now creating a chain of hotels in former palaces.
Winterbottom has turned Tess into Trishna (Freida Pinto of Slum Dog Millionaire fame), a bright teenage peasant girl, whom Hardy referred to as a “pure woman.” We follow her story from leaving her village in Rajasthan to working in smart hotels that offer exotic Indian vacations to Western tourists.
She moves on to Mumbai where she briefly attempts to enter the Bollywood film industry. The music throughout the film reflects these changing locales and is a big part of the appeal of the movie.
The tragedy that unfolds offers an insight into the economic structure and hypocrisies of Indian life as the wealthy powerful son seduces the young woman and we see her flee back to her village, where she finds she no longer feels at home, and then attempts to return to Mumbai. Jay, too, feels rootless, caught between his life in England and India.
The film ends with Trishna finally asserting herself in a desperate act that inevitably leads to a tragic ending.
As critic Philip French states: “Winterbottom sees in India a bustling society much like the rapidly changing England Hardy observed, and in Hardyesque fashion he firmly locates Trishna in this turbulent world. It’s also a society that practises a double standard concerning the behaviours of men and women similar to that of the Victorians, and Winterbottem makes Trishna its passive-aggressive victim.”
A colourful exotic trip into a land of contrasts awaits all those who see this outstanding movie.
Trishna shows at 5:15 p.m. and 7:45 p.m. Monday, Nov. 26 at the Vernon Towne Cinema. Tickets are available one week ahead at the Bean Scene and the Towne Cinema box office for $7.