Saturday, May 03, 2008


Before the Rains' New York premiere at Tribeca has brought a ton of articles, interviews and other goodies, presented here in classic Jerryblog chaotic listage. Enjoy!

  • CW11 Morning News has video of a brief interview with Jennifer Ehle talking about Before the Rains, travelling to India with Rosemary Harris and the family, and (almost) spending the night with a certain Mr Clooney.
  • Santosh Sivan speaks to the Times of India about composer Mark Killian winning the music award at the Houston International Film Fest and also gives some good news about upcoming release internationally:
    "I’ve got 12 National Awards in all, so winning awards is not a big deal for me," admits the shy cinematographer-filmmaker. "This is a non-formula, non-Bollywood film and Hollywood’s Mark Kilian (Rendition, The Bird Can’t Fly) is the first non-Indian composer to be honoured internationally for an Indian film."

    He decided to use Kilian in Before The Rains because he didn’t want a ‘typical’ soundtrack with strings, harmonies and ragas denoting the green stretches of Munnar. “I wanted an element of the unexpected in the music. I think Kilian’s work gave my film an extra dimension. And I shot the greenery in a non-typical manner,” says Santosh. He has yet to release the film in India. “It’s not easy to do that with an English-language Indian film in mainstream theatres,” he complains. But Before The Rains is opening commercially in New York and then goes to the prestigious Edinburgh Film Festival in June, where it will open at the posh Metrodome. “It then goes for release to the UK, Australia, New Zealand and Russia. I suppose the film has now acquired a life of its own beyond the country of its origin,” laughs Santosh.
  • Metrodome lists the release date as Friday June 27th 2008.
  • The Before the Rains official site has been updated since I last saw it and includes a note from Deepak Chopra. You can also listen to the gorgeous soundtrack there.
    [...] In America, we've enjoyed a spate of films that read like nuanced short stories ("In the Bedroom", "Little Children", "The Savages"), and now it's a delight to find such layered sophistication coming from India. "Before the Rains" fully deserves to stand in that company. It unfolds along expected lines -- the classic Merchant Ivory costume movie from which we expect exotic scene-setting and just as exotic love affairs, only to wind up in much deeper waters. Touching and thought-provoking, "Before the Rains" doesn't set out to change our conception of how conscience came to grief as British imperial glory died, but it achieves even more. It makes us reflect on how we ourselves will feel when the dispossessed of the world rise to ask us for dignity, freedom, and love without past taints of condescension and guilt.
  • Terrible questions and entertaining answers in an audio interview with Jennifer Ehle, Rahul Bose and Linus Roache .
  • Reuters' Frank Scheck reviews Rains and gives a so-so verdict; "minor entry in the Merchant Ivory canon", he calls it.
  • Darrell Hartman of the NY Sun has quotage from Mssrs Sivan and Bose as well as Nandita Das. Here's Mr Bose:
    [...] "['Before the Rains'] is really the best example of a collaborative effort between East and West: the rigor and stringency of American writing, the almost anal attention to detail by the producers — India is a more savoir faire kind of a place. You have actors from both sides. You have a production designer who's won awards in India, and he'll be collaborating with a guy in Los Angeles who's been doing Indian music." [...]
  • Video interview with Mr Bose at IBN.
    Rahul Bose says, "What's the personal issue? A friend on one hand, and on the other hand loyalty to your village. Loyalty to Moore or customs of his village. So TK's character has at one point in time to choose between the two."
  • Rains is being claimed for Mother Britain at Cineuropa.
    In this beautifully shot film, an English spice baron, played with appropriate class privilege mixed with angst by Linus Roche, is the very model of an English ex-patriot, with a wife and young son in tow. [...] The impossibly handsome Indian actor Rahul Bose gives a startling performance as a man torn between modernism and tradition, a metaphor for his entire country.
  • Report about Mark Killian's live performance of the soundtrack, from Rhythm Village:
    Mark Killian’s performance followed later in the evening, after a screening of Santosh Sivan’s film Before the Rains, which features an original score by Mr. Kilian. He performed pieces from the soundtrack, accompanied by a bansuri flutist as people left the screening, which beautifully represented a defining feature of Rhythm Village -the ability to extend the film going experience beyond the theater.
  • Rains makes E. Nina Rothe's top five films of the week:
    Another film opening that same weekend will be Santosh Sivan’s “Before the Rains”. Once again, this is a visually stunning film, superbly acted by Indian multiplex hottie Rahul Bose as well as Linus Roache, Jennifer Ehle and Nandita Das. A character study into the depths of fear, loyalty and love, the ending will leave you breathless. It is a Merchant and Ivory production, which should give you some insight into the incredible quality of cinematography and acting at work here.
  • Filmiholic has a couple of shots from the Rains press conference at the Indian Consulate, including one with Ms Ehle. Wireimage has 14 more and Getty Images has a few from the film's Tribeca premiere. Further pics of Ms Das, Mr Bose and Mr Sivan at Rediff.

  • 3.5 stars from Notes from the Jaman Lounge:
    [...] Beautifully played by Bollywood mainstay Bose and by Roche, with an effective portrayal of East-West tensions, “Before the Rains” is a worthy addition to the Merchant-Ivory catalog, and an impressive cross-cultural achievement for director-cinematographer Sivan.
  • A full 5 stars on the other hand from Lisa Martini of Time Out NY.
    This love story is set against civil unrest in India in 1937. Henry, a charismatic Brit, and Sajani, his sultry love interest, try to forge a romance but are caught up in a constant downpour of loss and despair. T.K., the other primary character, is a youth trapped in a class struggle, who feels conflicting loyalties to both his Indian family and his British employer. You become quite fond of T.K. as he navigates his way between two vastly different worlds—his family's simple village and the British upper-class society. As the frenetic story moves to its conclusion, these worlds converge, with T.K. the better for it. It's a brisk film that keeps you engaged until the end.
  • Peter Martin on Twitch reviews the flick at the Indian Film Festival of LA:
    [...] The film presents historical scenes of peaceful civil disobedience, road building through the forest, and village life, but too often it feels like the pages of a pretty pictorial are being turned. Sivan, who also served as cinematographer, fills every frame with beautiful visuals; if only he was able to bring more life to the proceedings, the film as a whole might have been more galvanizing.
  • Video interviews with producer Doug Mankoff and Linus Roache at the AFI Dallas fest.
  • Iefilmi recaps some of the film's press notes and critical response to it.
  • Snip from New York Cool's Frank Avella, in an overview of Tribeca:
    The Spotlight section focuses on films that have already acquired U.S. distribution but have yet to be released including work by such esteemed directors as: Oscar nominee Julian Schnabel; Guy Maddin and Tom Kalin. This section includes the powerful feature, Before the Rains, which is most impressive for four potent performances by Linus Roach, Rahul Bose, Nandita Das and Jennifer Ehle.
  • Robert Levin at UWire:
    Indian director Satosh Sivan makes his English language debut with this picturesque melodrama that's filled with strong, stark emotions and symbolic, painterly visuals. Fast-paced and rife with characterizations, it stars Linus Roache as Henry Moores, a British man sponsoring the construction of a road in South India as the independence movement flairs around him. The narrative follows the local fallout from the discovery of the married Moores' affair with Sajani (Nandita Das), his housekeeper from the local village. There's not much in the way of cinematographic subtlety, but the movie looks great and maintains old-fashioned dramatic appeal.
  • 3/4 stars at Screen Comment blog:
    After one look at this visually stunning new picture by the team of Merchant Ivory you might think, well, this isn't fair, director Santosh Sivan has had the benefit of a terrific cast in the persons of Linus Roache, Jennifer Ehle and Rahul Bose. Place them in the lush surroundings of 1930s India and other filmmakers might be at a sharp disadvantage. But Sivan triumphs with this historical epic set against the mounting nationalist uprisings of 1930s India and earns his stripes among today's top filmmakers. (***/4)
Today marks the 3rd anniversary of this here blog! Have some cake for us. For a blast from the distant past, have a peek at Internet Archive to see what the Ghost of Blog Past looked like. However, this last year has belonged to Team Kate & Abi (currently caught up in academics) so will leave it to them to review their first year helming el blog. Guys, thanks for the hard work, the endless linkies, the wit...and the occasional sly leg-yank (Pine Terrace!). I could not be prouder or more grateful. Here's to the next three years!

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