8:00 PM, 9th October, 2010
The story begins in a small town in New Mexico, where Gina (Basinger), a wife and mother of four, is introduced. Gina is having an affair with a man named Nick, which Gina’s daughter, Mariana (Jennifer Lawrence), finds out about. Both Gina and Nick die in an explosion and their respective families subsequently find out about the affair.
Soon after the funerals, Mariana and Nick’s son, Santiago, develop a relationship, with obvious disapproval from their families, and end up running away to Mexico together. Fast forward a few years and Mariana has changed her name to Sylvia (Theron) with a new life and career in a high-end restaurant. But the past rarely stays behind you for long.
The Burning Plain is a beautiful film, with stunning cinematography and a truly amazing cast, including the absolutely gorgeous Charlize Theron. Events in the film are not given in chronological order, typical of Arriaga’s style, and it is put together beautifully. I saw The Burning Plain last year at the Canberra International Film Festival and gave it four and a half stars directly after seeing it, but after re-visiting the film in my thoughts, I upgraded this rating to five stars. It is still one of my favourite films.
9:57 PM, 9th October, 2010
I’m not sure it was necessary to edit down the Bollywood original (which, at 130 minutes, was already remarkably short by Bollywood standards) by 40 minutes. The original was already rather like a music video. And although there’s an awful lot of plot, the basic story could fit in a music video. Jay (Roshan) and Natasha (Mori) are two struggling poor people in Mexico who fall hopelessly in love with each other – although each is on the eve of marrying someone less attractive but much richer. Fate tears them apart, but through sheer force of will they claw their way back into each other’s arms.
I love Bollywood and I’m never quite sure why. Maybe it’s partly because I’m never quite sure why. Half the time, when I’m watching a Bollywood film, I have the odd feeling that although this is probably the most shamelessly populist and accessible cinema on Earth, I’m not quite sure if I understand it or not. This film, for instance, is a passionate, fevered depiction of adolescent love (between adults) – a soaring, singing, unquestioning hymn to this kind of love. So does the film mean it, or not? And does it even make a difference? We’re swept along just as surely in either case.