The Saskatoon Fantastic Film Festival went globe-trotting to start Day 2. The “Drawn from Around the World” block of animated shorts offered some enthralling works. Many conveyed a sad or lamenting poignancy. Keiro (Tatiana Jusewycz, Benoît Leloup, Franck Menigoz, Zoé Nérot, and Charlotte Poncin, 2016) traced a girl’s journey to adulthood and its effect on the giant creature that accompanies her, Beyond the Books (Jérôme Battistelli, Mathilde Cartigny, Nicolas Evain, Maéna Paillet, Robin Pelissier, and Judith Wahler, 2017) envisioned the highly detailed collapse of an impossibly immense library, the Spanish short Dead Horses (Marc Riba and Anna Solanas, 2016) revealed the brutality of war from a child’s perspective and amid fabric devastation, and the Indian film Schirkoa (Asian Shukla, 2017) imagined political strife in a world where citizens wear bags and boxes on their heads. Others brought the funny, like Daniel Sterlin-Altman’s Hi, It’s Your Mother (2017), about motherhood, blood loss, and middle class living told in crude claymation, and Deuspi (Megacomputer, 2017), a very short work about a pair of astonishingly inept stick-up men and their hilarious fates.
A BOLLYWOOD FABLE OF LOVE, LUST AND OBSESSION
There is nothing quite like Raj Kapoor’s Love Sublime – a meditation on love and beauty that lavishly mixes fantasy, psychedelia, and voluptuous sexuality against the background of 1970s India’s rural electrification program. A playboy engineer from the city (Shashi Kapoor) is sent to a small village to oversee a new hydroelectric dam, and falls in love with a nubile temple girl (Zeenat Aman) who hides her severely scarred face from him. He discovers her disfigurement on their wedding night and goes mad, insisting that she is an impostor and bringing her to a strange masquerade designed to restore his love. Raj Kapoor presents a fairy tale vision that mixes the hardscrabble realism of rural life with baroque dream sequences and a scandalous degree of sexuality by his female star’s barely there wardrobe. While representing a stunning accomplishment in visual style by cinematographer Radhu Karmakar and boasting an accomplished soundtrack by composers by Laxmikant-Pyarelal, Love Sublime‘s unusual story and rampant eroticism has nevertheless defined it as the most controversial movie of Bollywood’s greatest filmmaker.
Love Sublime resembles the Hindi lovechild of Samuel Fuller and Russ Meyer, merging daring pulp perversity with a rural, Gothic, T&A melodrama and creating an irresistible social drama that may or may not teach that beauty is more than skin deep. As Elliott Stein observes, “Although it was made for Indian audiences, I have never met an Indian who will admit to liking it and I have never met anyone from the West who didn’t like it.”
- New High Definition Digital Transfer
- High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentation
- Newly translated English subtitles
- Raj Kapoor in the ’70s – Rachel Dwyer on Raj Kapoor and his late career interest in female protagonists
- New interviews with stars Shashi Kapoor and Zeenat Aman
- Sex, Saris, and Censorship – a visual essay by Monika Mehta exploring the reception and controversy of Love Sublime
- Reversible sleeve with original and newly commissioned artwork
- Booklet featuring new writing on the film by Wendy Doniger, a review by Elliott Stein, and illustrated with original stills and posters