"1947 Earth" (dir. Deepa Mehta, 1998, India), introduction and Q&A with Dr. Dharitri Bhattacharjee

Tuesday, Feb, 9 2016 — 7:30 PM


The Mellon Globalization Forum invites all to the second screening in its About the Body: A World Film Series titled 1947 Earth (dir. Deepa Mehta, 1998, India), with introduction and Q&A with Dr. Dharitri Bhattaacharjee on Tuesday, Feb. 9, at the SUT.

"Deepa Mehta's sorrowful film "Earth," the second in a projected trilogy of fire, earth and water, is bathed in a deep golden light that at moments recalls the orange sky silhouetting the sweaty faces of Vivien Leigh and Clark Gable in "Gone With the Wind" during the burning of Atlanta. This amber glow gives the film, which remembers the tragic events surrounding the partition of India in 1947, a ruddy twilit sensuality along with a sense of nocturnal foreboding. 

Toward the end of the film, as Hindus and Muslims who have lived together peacefully in the (now Pakistani) city of Lahore, begin butchering one another and setting fires, you have a sinking feeling of helplessness. Now that the evil genie of suppressed ethnic hatred has been let out of the bottle and the cycle of eye-for-an-eye violence and retaliation has begun, there is no turning back. 

''Earth,'' adapted from Bapsi Sidhwa's semi-autobiographical novel ''Cracking India,'' views these events through the eyes of 8-year-old Lenny Sethna (Maia Sethna), the pampered daughter of an affluent Parsi family in Lahore. The Parsi community, descended from Muslims who fled Persia in the ninth century, became closely aligned with the British colonialists in India. During the partition they avoided persecution by adopting a neutral stance that Lenny's father compares to Switzerland's neutrality during World War II. [...]

''Earth'' is a powerful and disturbing reminder of how a civilization can suddenly crack under certain pressures. We have only to look at the Balkans and Northern Ireland to find the same cycle of violence being re-enacted. During the period of India's partition, nearly 12 million Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs migrated across the newly established borders and more than one million died or were maimed in the interethnic violence. The aftershocks resound to this day." 
Stephen Holden, New York Times, September 10, 1999 

Movie Trailer:


The World Film Series is sponsored by the Mellon Globalization Forum and the SUT in conjunction with the conference “Why All the Fuss about the Body?”: Local and Global/ized Bodies (April 11-16, 2016). Free and open to the public.

  • Tuesday, February 23, Nostalgia for the Light (dir. Patricio Guzmán, 2010, Chile), introduction and Q&A with Dr. Arturo Marquez-Gomez

  • Monday March 7, The Tribe(dir. Miroslav Slaboshpitsky, 2015, Ukraine), introduction and Q&A with Dr. Yuliya Ladygina

  • Monday, March 21, I Don’t Want to Sleep Alone(dir. Tsai Ming-liang, 2006, Taiwan and Malaysia), introduction and Q&A with Brandon Kemp and Dr. Casey Schoenberger

  • Tuesday, April 12, Yesterday (dir. Darrell Roodt, 2004, South Africa), introduction and Q&A with Dr. Amy Patterson

  • Tuesday, April 19, The Skin I Live In (dir. Pedro Almodóvar, 2011, Spain), introduction and Q&A with Dr. Arturo Marquez-Gomez

  • Monday, April 25, Son of Saul (dir. László Nemes, 2015, Hungary), introduction and Q&A with Dr. Justyna Beinek     

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