Friday, January 30, 2009

India Calling

Valley of Flowers
In the magazine biz, editors say: If they're three, it's a trend. What has come to my attention is: India.
1. There is a fascinating series on PBS now called The Story of India. British journalist Michael Wood stresses that this is a spiritual country.
2. At the end of Auntie Mame, she is taking her grandnephew on a trip to India. Hmmmm, wouldn't a trip to India be fantastic?
3. I just saw on HBO and now have recorded on the dvr The Darjeeling Limited directed by Wes Anderson in 2007 and set in India. Have you seen it? I've watched it two and a half times.

This is why I like it:
-it's about traveling on a train called The Darjeeling Limited. I love a train movie. Some Like it Hot is one of my favorite movies ever.
-it's about three brothers, duh.
-the brothers are on a spiritual journey.
-they travel through India in beautiful grey suits, the kind with button holes at the cuff that work.
-they travel with their father's fantastic hard luggage, actually designed by Marc Jacobs for Louis Vuitton
-their mother runs a convent in the foothills of the Himalayas.
-the music sounds like the music in Harold and Maude (1971), another favorite movie. I once saw Ruth Gordon on Main Street in Edgartown on Martha's Vineyard, but that's another story. All of The Darjeeling Limited has a kind of Seventies style to it, which speaks to me.
-India. It looks fantastic and strange and beautiful.

This movie was made by Wes Anderson, who is known for his eye and sense of style, and every frame of this colorful movie is gorgeous to look at. He is an "auteur," involved in all aspects of the film making, including writing, cinematography, design and music.

One year ago, the father of these brothers was hit by a cab and died in New York City. They have not seen each other since. The oldest, played by Owen Wilson, summons his two brothers, played by Adrien Brody and Jason Schwartzman, for a train trip through India.

His head is all bandaged up. He says, late in the movie, that he "smashed into the side of a hill, on purpose, on my motorcycle." Heart out to Owen Wilson, with the pale, pale eyes, who did actually attempt suicide after this movie was made.

After some adventures

they decide to visit their mother who disappeared and did not attend their father's funeral.

At last they arrive at a convent in the Himalayas to find their mother played by the transcendent Angelica Huston, she of the amazing voice.

They question her: "Why did you leave us? Why didn't you come to dad's funeral?" She says, "Maybe we could express ourselves more fully if we say it without words." (That doesn't make any sense!)

She says good night and, "To be continued."

Then during the night she disappears and leaves them again.

The brothers depart to catch a train. Running to the train, they cast aside their father's hard luggage.

Get it? They leave the family baggage behind. This is not my family and this is not my story, but it is a touching tale about growing up. It's cleverly told, and it's wonderful to look at.

This movie makes me want to wear Indian beads and go out and buy brightly colored flowers. And travel.

Here is the movie trailer:

Director Wes Anderson talks about making movies:

Wes Anderson directed himself in this commercial for American Express which is a riot.


Shelly Beson said...

I loved that movie. What a beautiful post.

Lisa Borgnes Giramonti said...

Lovely post and redolent of India itself: a kaleidoscope of color, passion and nostalgia. I'm going next month...I will think of you when I ask for a glass of "sweet lime."

Mr. Peacock said...

Bravo Bart...great posting!
Oh I loved "The Darjeeling Limited" too,
it was such a touching film.
And I've had the biggest crush on
Jason Schwartzman since Rushmore...
He's like a modern Peter Sellers!
Rent the DVD and watch the
special features about making the film.
I dream of going to India.