Movie: Dhobi Ghat

Somebody asked, ” Where do you get all the good movies you watch?” We have a Netflix subscription, which has come in very handy while I’ve been sick, so most will be be available at Warning: We like to watch foreign movies and award winners/highly rated movies.

This is a new permanent page, though the title will always reflect the latest movie each time you get notified, and it will be on the top of the list. I decided to do a bit more than just tweet that we watched a movie, adding a trailer, source, and a review. Here is the latest movie that we watched, I will be adding others to the list over the next couple of days, depending on my energy level. You will be notified of an update to the page, it will not display on the homepage or in the category of “latest post”.

I’d love to hear your opinions of these films and your suggestions for us to watch as that is often the only thing I’m up to in the evening!

For those who don’t mind a spoiler, or want to be sure it’s suitable for their audience, Wikipedia often gives a complete synopsis of movies.


Dhobi Ghat

Set in Mumbai, the movie follows four disparate characters whose paths, mostly because of gender or caste, would not naturally cross.  The non-resident Indian woman from New York pursues a culturally inappropriate relationship with a laundry man (dhobi). We often wondered about her lack of cultural sensitivities… In the end, things (mostly) come together. For mature audiences, the movie does show a side of Mumbai/large Indian cities we don’t normally see as the dhobi follows his second profession of night-time rat killer. Not sure what I think of this one or who I would recommend it for.  Reasonably well-done, provides a counterpoint to movies like “Oursourced”, though both have an ambiguously happy ending – maybe.


Times of India:

Story: Arun (Aamir Khan), an upmarket artist meets Shai (Monica Dogra), an NRI investment banker at his exhibition. A chance encounter that may or may not lead to something more substantial in moody Mumbai…

Dhobi Ghat is a compelling picture of urban angst that has become the hallmark of big city life. The experiences of the four diverse characters may be varied, but they all have a similar theme. It’s a somewhat dysfunctional foursome, desperately seeking an anchor in the shifting sands of a maddening city. Arun openly confesses he is a loner and doesn’t try to hide his discomfort on finding Shai trying to get comfortable in his pad, the morning after. Shai spends her sabbatical trying to connect with Munna, her washerman, despite their different backgrounds, when all she’ll like to do was finish the unfinished business that lingers between her and Arun. Munna, on his part, is tormented by his passion for the uptown woman he can never hope to hook up with. But it is the existential trauma of the newly married Yasmin which strikes you the most, as the woman pours out her loneliness in video letters to her brother Imran….Letters that become the leitmotif of a crumbling city’s soul.

Source: Netflix


Nowhere in Africa

If part of your heart is in Africa, watch “Nowhere in Africa”. Rated “R” for sensuality. 2002 American Academy Award, Best Foreign Language Film. 15th April, 2011.

Source: Netflix streaming




Get Low

“Bout time for me to get low…”

“In the 2009 drama, “Get Low”, Robert Duvall plays Felix Bush, a backwoods hermit who built his own prison (figuratively) and stayed there for 40 years, occasionally shooting off his shotgun at trespassers or kids breaking windows on a dare. It wasn’t the comedy Dave and I were expecting, on the other hand, it’s a very good movie, one we would highly recommend. Just don’t expect a “comedy” in the usual sense.

Metacritic called it, “A movie spun out of equal parts folk tale, fable and real-life legend…” . Based on the “True Tall Tale” of Felix “Bush” Breazeale “who threw himself a living funeral party in 1938 in Roane, Tennessee”. Inviting anyone who has a story about him to tell, what Felix really wants is for someone to tell his story, or a chance to tell it – if he can – for himself.” The official website has a wealth of information about the movie, about Robert Duval and an archival article about Felix Beazeale. The Family Plot Blog:Funeral Planning for Those Who Don’t Plan to Die has posted “The Real Story Behind the Movie ‘Get Low'”.


Wall Street Journal:
In the liturgy of American history and literature, Felix—played by national monument Robert Duvall—is something of a convention: the ostracized loner, the demonized eccentric. So the idea that “Get Low”—director Aaron Schneider’s ambitiously atmospheric dramedy of the ’30s South—is “based on a true story” is really beside the point. It’s about myth creation—and sin and memory.
It’s a mesmerizing opening — simple, mysterious, dramatic. And in that respect it also is a perfect tone-setter for the quirky but tender “Get Low, ” a wonderfully constructed and beautifully acted fable that serves as a reminder of how much of a treasure Robert Duvall is, and how much Bill Murray — an excellent script-picker if ever there was one — is taken for granted. (Read complete review…)

The Christian Science Monitor
It’s a common fantasy, of course. But why would Felix, who clearly despises the townsfolk, want to put himself through it?

The answer, when it comes, is a bit soppy, but it all works because Duvall’s Felix has a lived-in authenticity and a poignancy. This tough old bird can get away with being a sentimental old coot because we already know he doesn’t give up his secrets lightly.

Not only Duvall shines. Murray, in case anybody still doubted it, is one of the finest character actors in America. Frank’s exasperation with this ornery client is tempered by the big pay day he foresees. He’s a slickster who regards the funeral business as, well, a business. His soothing, oleaginous tones are the surest sign that he’s looking to score.

And yet Murray also humanizes Frank by giving him a core of decency that reveals itself in blurts of exasperation. “Is it just me,” he asks his callow assistant Buddy (Lucas Black), referring to Felix, “or is he extremely articulate when he wants to be?” (Read complete review…)

Bursting into speech at last at his own graveside, Felix reveals to the assembled crowd why he chose to live for nearly half a century in a world of stopped clocks. It’s less the secret itself — a standard-issue forbidden romance, albeit one tinged with menace — that lends these final moments their power to move us, and more the sight of a man achieving what few of us get to do at the tail end of our lives. It’s said that funerals are for the living, but Felix, with the aid of an undertaker who thought he lived for no one but himself, steals back his own memorial, clears his own ledger of debit and credit — and chooses how, when and where he will get low. (Read more…)


Source: Neflix DVD

Not every critic loved it, but I did – and I’m choosing the reviews today…

Babette’s Feast

Babette’s Feast : Babette Returns

Babette wins 10,000 francs in the lottery and could now be free to leave the bleak village and her hard life as an unpaid maid. Instead, she chooses to spend it all on a magnificent French Dinner for the small Christian community that took her, a French refugee, in. I’m including Babette’s Feast here (though it’s been years since I’ve seen it) because I mentioned it in my blog post about funeral planning and wanted to give it more than a nod. While there can be many interpretations of the movie, I see “Babette’s Feast“, culminating in a dinner party at which “Old wrongs are forgotten, ancient loves are rekindled, and a mystical redemption of the human spirit settles over the table” as another (highly recommended) story of our need to reveal who we really are (synopsis). In Babette’s words, “Throughout the world sounds one long cry from the heart of the artist: Give me the chance to do my very best.”


Good News Film Reviews
This should be a boring film. The greatest events in the film are internalized, the characters only speak when needed and the whole piece is symbolic. The story revolves around the lives of two deeply religious sisters who restrict their lives to serving their fellow man in the name of God. The two sisters and the denizens of their small, isolated Danish village sustain themselves on a pale diet of boiled fish and bread. They also survive on the memory of the sister’s dead father, a charismatic pastor who bonded the citizens of the village with teachings of Christian piety and sacrifice. When a French woman named Babette arrives as a refugee from the French Revolution, the two sisters must adjust to the new addition in their lives. When Babette wins the French lottery and demands to spend her winnings serving a real French feast to the aging members of the community the world is turned upside down. The introduction of pleasure into the village has some amazing results. With this timid plot in addition to the fact that this is a “foreign film”, meaning that it is a non-English language piece, most Americans will look at this thing and simply move on.

Don’t move on. (Read complete review…)

The New York Times

After their father’s death, the two young women slip into unmarried middle age, carrying on the pastor’s work with saintly dedication. One night, in the middle of a terrible storm, Babette (Stephane Audran) turns up at their door, battered by weather and circumstances, and carrying a letter of introduction from Filippa’s opera singer, now old and retired. Having lost both her husband and son in the Paris Commune, Babette, he explains, needs political sanctuary. He begs the sisters to take her in. The sisters, who are nearly penniless, accept Babette’s offer to act as their unpaid housekeeper.

In time, Babette becomes an indispensable though ever enigmatic member of the household. Her Roman Catholicism is politely ignored. She brings order and efficiency to the sisters’ lives as defenders of their father’s aging flock, which, over the years, has become split by old grievances and jealousies. Babette cooks, cleans, washes and sews, always remaining aloof and proud, at a distance from her benefactors.

All of this is by way of being the prelude to the film’s extended, funny and moving final sequence, a spectacular feast, the preparation and execution of which reveal Babette’s secret and the nature of her sustaining glory. (Read full review)


Netflix streaming

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5 Responses to Movie: Dhobi Ghat

  1. Pingback: Wit, a.k.a.”W;t” |

  2. Carola Ratzlaff says:

    “Nowhere in Africa” will be put on my “to watch” list.
    I also like foreign movies and those which have won awards at foreign festivals. The Newton Public Libraries has quite a few in that group. And those they do not have I request per inter-library loan. So far I have been able to get everything I wanted that way. This is a free service, but, of course, movies don’t always arrive at a certain date; sometimes it takes a while to get them in.

    • cookie says:


      The public library subscribes to the Film Movement club – which we have found to be very good. You can personally join – and buy movies for a reduced rate ($15) as a member. The website says subscriptions start at $12.50 per month though I don’t find that as a regular rate. They also appear to have some kind of relationship with Groupon, telling people “Please do not redeem before your redemption date”. In Dec., 2010, New York City Groupon had a deal with Film Movement, $85 for 1-yr membership, and in April, Groupon offered a 6-month membership for $40 in Toronto. This is worth watching for – if anyone sees an offer in your area, please comment asap. Groupon deals usually only last for a day and you must be a member (free) to buy the daily coupon for a reduced price item. Groupon was recently on NPR .


  3. Sanna says:

    Cookie. Love this idea! I share your taste for independent films from markets outside the U.S. Will look for this on — yes — Netflix. Have you seen “As it is in Heaven?” yet? It’s a stream it now selection. Swedish. My all-time favorite. Absolutely lovely study of the simple healing power of community. Love to you. I devour every post. At least every one I get notified of by e-mail.

    • cookie says:

      Sanna, Part of it is to help ME remember the wonderful movies that I’ve watched! I don’t so much feel the need to actually write reviews, as to make a whole category of movies more accessible, more visible to others, by highlighting interesting reviews that are already out there of movies that havent gotten the exposure they deserve and the enjoyment we are all missing.


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