489 Monsoon Wedding

Discuss DVDs and Blu-rays released by Criterion and the films on them. If it's got a spine number, it's in here. Threads may contain spoilers.
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cdnchris
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Re: 489 Monsoon Wedding

#26 Post by cdnchris » Tue Sep 29, 2009 7:20 pm

FYI, it says the commentary was recorded in 2002. I haven't listened to the track on the old DVD so can't verify but I would guess they used the same track from that DVD.

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tajmahal
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Re: 489 Monsoon Wedding

#27 Post by tajmahal » Wed Sep 30, 2009 2:00 am

No interest in the main feature. Would possibly buy it in a sale for the (possibly) interesting extras. I didn't much like the artwork, but the finished product looks stylish, and not at all unattractive.

If you liked the film, this set would be very much desired, I'm sure.

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Re: 489 Monsoon Wedding

#28 Post by Rich Malloy » Wed Sep 30, 2009 10:46 am

tajmahal wrote:If you liked the film, this set would be very much desired, I'm sure.
And indeed it is!

Nair's original commentary is excellent, and I hope it's included even if Criterion has commissioned a new one. One aspect that might stand a bit more illumination is the interaction and relations among the characters with different religious, ethnic or caste differences... at least for us Western viewers. There's the obvious religious/ethnic tension in the budding relationship between the family's Christian maid and their (Hindi? Sikh?) wedding coordinator, but it seems that there are many other less overt instances that Nair has included in her underlying commentary on modern Indian culture.

And I have to confess, I simply don't know much about the Punjabi subculture and many of the more obvious cultural, religious or ethnic signifiers are simply lost on me. For example, I've always assumed the family to be Hindu - and perhaps this is confirmed at one or another point in the film - but knowing a bit more about that part of the world today than when I last saw the film, I guess the family would more likely be Sikh (though I don't recall the men wearing traditional headwraps). And given that the film is primarily about the tension between traditional and modern Punjabi culture, I'm only certain that I failed to grasp a good many of the nuances in the relations.

[Except of course for that relationship between Dubbey and Alice - one of my favorites of the film's many subplots. I may not know whether Dubbey is Sikh or Hindu (Muslim?), but yes I grasped that he did not share Alice's Christianity. I'm not blind; merely ignorant.]

I also confess that most of my current awareness of that part of the world comprises the negative: Sikh separatism, appalling intra-caste violence, and the ongoing territorial disputes between India and Pakistan. Though these tensions are excacerbated since the film was shot 8 or so years ago, certainly they existed then. I'm thinking now of the scene when Additi, the bride, and her lover are accosted by the police - yes, there's her personal guilt for betraying her fiance, and the tension between the traditional/modern that these uniformed "virtue enforcers" seem to personify, but is there also a political or ethnic aspect that I'm missing?

Finally, I love the depiction of ritual. One of my great disappointments in life was when circumstances deprived me of the opportunity to attend a traditional Bengali wedding, a multi-day affair taking place in large tents out in the plains along the Ganges that somewhat resembled the Punjabi ceremony in the film (particularly the ritualized meetings of the families, the day when the women gather to sing traditional songs, the ceremonial application of mendhi/henna to the bride and wedding party). I know this sort of ritualized pageantry is as unappealing to some as a police procedural is to me ... but I love it. And I hope the CC release does more to illuminate those traditional ceremonial aspects depicted in the film.

I can't argue this is a great film, only that it is very appealing to me. Somehow, it's flaws don't detract from its charms - ast least for myself - and I confess that I'd rather watch it 10 more times than to watch "The Human Condition" even once more.

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Re: 489 Monsoon Wedding

#29 Post by Michael Kerpan » Wed Sep 30, 2009 10:51 am

I would say that Monsoon Wedding was a very good film -- with some excellent performances -- and I would especially note that of Naseeruddin Shah -- who I suspect is more than worthy to be Criterion-ized. ;~}

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Re: 489 Monsoon Wedding

#30 Post by jbeall » Wed Sep 30, 2009 10:24 pm

I said earlier that Monsoon Wedding felt slight, even though I did like it. But it's certainly better and more memorable than The Hit, to name one recent criterionized blah.

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Re: 489 Monsoon Wedding

#31 Post by cdnchris » Sat Oct 03, 2009 4:16 am


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Re: 489 Monsoon Wedding

#32 Post by Nothing » Sat Oct 03, 2009 8:07 pm

Just look at those screenshots - how flat, how televisual, how uninspired, how utterly uncinematic.

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Re: 489 Monsoon Wedding

#33 Post by ccfixx » Sun Oct 04, 2009 12:49 am

Chris, Are you using the same screenshots for both the DVD and blu-ray reviews?

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Re: 489 Monsoon Wedding

#34 Post by cdnchris » Sun Oct 04, 2009 1:06 am

ccfixx wrote:Chris,
Are you using the same screenshots for both the DVD and blu-ray reviews?
Sorry, I'm a little wiped so I'm not completely sure what you're asking. Do you mean am I using the same grabs for both reviews, or did I take grabs from the same scenes for each? In either case, no. The grabs for the Blu-ray review come from the Blu-ray (I have to shrink them down for space and bandwidth reasons currently, though have kept the full res grabs in case I ever decide to allow 1080 images to be downloaded) and the DVD grabs come from the DVD. And if you compare the shots in both you'll notice they definitely don't come from the same frames (and if they do it's a complete accident.)

Here's a couple full res grabs from Monsoon Wedding:
http://www.criterionforum.org/images/bl ... 000322.png
http://www.criterionforum.org/images/bl ... 005505.png

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Re: 489 Monsoon Wedding

#35 Post by eerik » Sun Oct 04, 2009 5:07 am

Looks like a decent 16mm film transfer. Not very impressive, not utterly bad.

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Re: 489 Monsoon Wedding

#36 Post by ccfixx » Sun Oct 04, 2009 10:44 am

cdnchris wrote:
ccfixx wrote:Chris, Are you using the same screenshots for both the DVD and blu-ray reviews?
Sorry, I'm a little wiped so I'm not completely sure what you're asking. Do you mean am I using the same grabs for both reviews? In either case, no.
Thanks, Chris. You've answered my question. I've been flipping back and forth now, and I can really see the red "pop" on the car in the blu-ray shot, whereas the DVD is leaning a bit more toward an orange tone.

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Re: 489 Monsoon Wedding

#37 Post by aox » Thu Oct 08, 2009 12:11 pm

Blu Ray.com weighs in.

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Re: 489 Monsoon Wedding

#38 Post by Flike » Fri Oct 09, 2009 9:53 pm

Not to be totally generic as I haven't much time to be on here, but I am really impressed with this release. The extras are all very interesting and I didn't mind the Nair intros at all and watching Monsoon Wedding with my girlfriend was very nice. It's a pleasant film if not exceptional and for all the whinging as to the worthiness of a spine number (from me, included), they've done a great job with this. I didn't think the image on the Blu looked 'televisual' or flat at all, again, nice extras, the animated Blu-ray menus always impress because I'm simple-minded and it seems that this is more of an ode to Nair. This is Criterion's 'Mira Nair release' rather than their 'Monsoon Wedding' release and, for what it is, I think it is a very good package.

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Re: 489 Monsoon Wedding

#39 Post by Cinephrenic » Thu Nov 05, 2009 7:02 pm

Hmm... just watched this with my family. I've seen a couple of Nair films that I found myself impressed with, but not too sure about this one. I didn't find much substance in the plot. Not a bad film, but nothing great either. Pretty humanist and Nair's typical cultural clashes are seen in Monsoon Wedding as in some of her other films. However, it didn't leave a great deal of impression on me. I probably won't be picking up the Blu-ray. It's worth a look.

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Re: 489 Monsoon Wedding

#40 Post by MichaelB » Thu Nov 12, 2009 5:27 pm

I enjoyed it when it came out, and I enjoyed it again on this DVD - it's not a film that particularly sticks in the mind (just about the only detail I remembered from the first viewing was PK Dubey's floral marriage proposal), but it seems to me that many of the attacks are more because it isn't Ray or Ghatak than because it's Monsoon Wedding. After all, it won the Venice Golden Lion, so it's hardly as bereft of critical support as is being implied.

And I really can't fault Criterion for the packaging - the extras encompass the vast majority of Nair's short and non-fiction output.

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Re: 489 Monsoon Wedding

#41 Post by swo17 » Thu Nov 12, 2009 6:12 pm

For the record, I don't hate this film because it isn't classic Indian cinema, but because it's essentially just a piece of fluff that is trying to be THIS IMPORTANT MOVIE by reminding you about Important Issues like child molestation. These two elements of the film effectively cancel each other out, as they bum out those just looking for a good piece of fluff, and only offer fluffy filling to those looking for some kind of substance. On that front, a few of the shorts presented similarly fail, except that at least they mostly aren't long enough to be all that fluffy. Though I suppose at least I learned the valuable lesson that
SpoilerShow
if I'm ever going to cheat on my wife with a man I should make sure to use a condom! so I don't give her and my innocent newborn child AIDS. [End scene.]
That being said, Criterion did do a bang-up job with this. The PQ was excellent and the supplements helped to give me a good sense of Nair's entire body of work, thus enabling me to form my well-reasoned opinion expressed above.

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Re: 489 Monsoon Wedding

#42 Post by Rich Malloy » Fri Nov 13, 2009 12:47 pm

Image
swo17 wrote:That being said, Criterion did do a bang-up job with this ... thus enabling me to form my well-reasoned opinion expressed above.

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Re: 489 Monsoon Wedding

#43 Post by Murdoch » Fri Nov 13, 2009 10:03 pm

Slight OT: I haven't seen this film, but I thought The Namesake was well-done and actually managed a adept performance by Kal Penn. It never drifted too heavily into Hollywood sentimentalism and Penn's character's rejection of his Westernization I found to be a very powerful scene. Although it falls apart during the final act.

It's the only Nair I've seen and it piqued my interest in her work, although I plan on staying far, far away from Amelia.

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Re: 489 Monsoon Wedding

#44 Post by scotty2 » Fri Nov 13, 2009 11:31 pm

I'm not an expert on Nair, but Mississippi Masala was a good, low-key film that handled her transnational themes with a bit of gentle grace and still provided a strong flavor of Indian family/wedding cultural issues. India, Uganda, and the Mississippi Delta converge. It may actually be a better entry point for her work than Monsoon Wedding for those not yet initiated.

Then again, maybe the only message in it is that interracial romance is fine. Which is . . . fine.

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Sloper
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Re: 489 Monsoon Wedding

#45 Post by Sloper » Sat Nov 14, 2009 1:29 pm

I really enjoyed this, despite myself, when I first saw it in the cinema. Watching it a year later on a friend's laptop, it seemed more insignificant and formulaic, and I suspect it's one of those films that depends on screen-size, as well as the mood you're in. It's not a carefully composed film, but is very dynamic and colourful, and there are some days when that's all you need. Dubey was indeed the most memorable aspect, especially that rather nice shot where he eats the marigold in slow motion.

And I can understand why people might find the inclusion of the
SpoilerShow
child abuse
sub-plot a bit crass, but it's normal in this sort of comparatively serious, sedate rom-com (i.e. not a Vince Vaughn movie) for a bit of genuine tragedy to be thrown in towards the end. Sort of the 'relevant to today' equivalent of Lydia eloping in Pride and Prejudice, or Whats-her-name cracking her head open on the rock in Persuasion. It didn't jar too much for me because I didn't think the rest of the film was entirely silly and jovial in tone.

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Re: 489 Monsoon Wedding

#46 Post by Michael Kerpan » Sat Nov 14, 2009 2:15 pm

I think when Austen does this sort of thing (intrusion of "melodrama" into romantic comedy), it is better prepared and more essential. Sloper's spoilerized issue did seem pretty gratuitous here.

But, in general, it strikes me as a superior example of the kind of thing it is -- more enjoyable (to my mind) than Wright's recent Pride and Prejudice-lite (which was itself a decent classy rom-com, even if very shallow and superficial as an Austen adaptation).

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Re: 489 Monsoon Wedding

#47 Post by Sloper » Sat Nov 14, 2009 5:04 pm

Oh absolutely, I wasn't suggesting Nair was a modern-day Austen, and I think that sort of thing only works as 'serious drama' if the characters are sensitively developed, which I guess they're not in MW. Even in Jane Austen though, this is the narrative formula I find most tedious of all: the inevitable "everything's going wrong" bit (Lizzy thinks she's not getting Darcy, Emma thinks she's not getting Knightley, etc) just before the final burst of redemption and resolution. I saw the end of Starter For Ten the other night, and the whole failure/pain/redemption climax worked like a sausage machine. I'd genuinely love to see a romantic comedy where everything goes right all the way through, and there are no misunderstandings or "you did this for a bet?" moments, followed by maudlin Dawson's Creek-y montages.

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Re: 489 Monsoon Wedding

#48 Post by Michael Kerpan » Sat Nov 14, 2009 6:54 pm

I'm afraid a romance where _everything_ went right would not provide much dramatic interest. ;~}

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Re: 489 Monsoon Wedding

#49 Post by manicsounds » Thu Jun 17, 2021 7:06 pm

The documentary "India Cabaret" on the disc, does it have the original Hindi/English audio with English subtitles, the alternate English narration over the Hindi portions version, or both?

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Re: 489 Monsoon Wedding

#50 Post by PfR73 » Thu Jun 17, 2021 11:22 pm

Both.

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