The Indie Film Corner: ‘To Rome with Love’ and ‘Trishna’

in Arts/Contributors by

By Dennis Tavernetti
“To Rome With Love” from The Indie/World Series presented by Emerging Pictures in HD at USCB Center For the Arts Sunday, September 9 at 4 p.m. and Friday, September 14 at 4 p.m.
Synopsis: A kaleidoscopic Woody Allen comedy set in one of the world’s most enchanting cities. The film brings us into contact with a well-known American architect reliving his youth; an average middle-class Roman who suddenly finds himself Rome’s biggest celebrity; a young provincial couple drawn into separate romantic encounters; and an American opera director endeavoring to put a singing mortician on stage.
Ratings & Reviews: Internet rating sites, IMDb: 6.6; Rotten Tomatoes: Critics: 44/Audience: 49. Mixed. Critics: New York Times: “One of the most delightful things … is how casually it blends the plausible and the surreal, and how unabashedly it revels in pure silliness.”
Previewer Comments:  This comedy is not as enchanting or magical as last year’s “Midnight in Paris”, but it is harmless and funny. It allows us to escape to Roma with all its magic and beauty with cultural and social stereotypes we might expect — or not expect. Woody does one movie a year, he always snags great actors, some of the movies are great, some of them merely good; a few less than good … but they are always Woody Allen.
Rated: R for sexual content.

“Trishna” from the World Series presented by Emerging Pictures in HD at USCB Center For the Arts Thursday, September 6 at 6:30 p.m. and Friday, September 21 at 4 p.m.
Synopsis: The film tells the story of one woman whose happiness in life is destroyed by a combination of love, a relationship and social standing. Set in contemporary India, Trishna meets a wealthy young British educated businessman, Jay Singh, who has come to India to work in his father’s hotel business. After a tragedy befalls her father, Trishna goes to work for Jay, and they fall in love. But despite their feelings for each other, they cannot escape the conflicting pressures of a society that is not changing as fast as the industrialization, urbanization and education is providing. Trishna’s tragedy is that she is torn between the traditions of her family’s place in society and the dreams and ambitions that her education has provided her, as well as the man she has fallen love with.
Ratings & Reviews:  Internet rating sites, IMDb: 5.6; Rotten Tomatoes: Critics: 67/Audience: 57; OK marks. Critics: Wall Street Journal: “spectacular visually.”
Previewer Comments: This UK film is roughly based on Thomas Hardy’s classic “Tess of the D’Urbervilles,” which like its original setting in 19th-century England with its class system, seems to fit well the current status of the caste system in India. The issue is whether different people from different social classes ever can gain happiness as a married couple, based on mutual acceptance of a degree of equality. Other than the beginnings of romance, the film never pretends that equality is likely, as the relationship always has one subservient to the other. We see that being male and having a higher class standing is the “better”, regardless of character. Consequently, the point is made that even in modern day India the old beliefs that: 1) if the female gets pregnant it is her fault, 2) her sin is greater than the male’s, and 3) the upper class can be willfully depraved and abusive in a relationship without social  judgment. The film questions how far we have come in today’s societal setting and sets out that without society’s support, one has to take action on their own.
Rated: R for sexual scenes and content.
Tickets are $7, seniors $6, students $5.