I saw this film at the Rotterdam film festival 2014 (IFFR), where it was part of the Bright Future section. The venue (687 seats) was almost fully booked for the European première. From the outside we saw a road movie through various landscapes in a series of provinces of India that we pass, eventually winding up in New Delhi. The route is in itself interesting to watch due to the variety in landscapes. All this happens on the lookout for a husband who went to New Delhi as a construction worker. Contact with him was lost 5 months ago. His wife and young daughter were left behind in an isolated small village near the Chinese border. In the opening scenes we see the whole area covered with snow, and such a journey is far from easy. The things that they see underway, and particularly what happens in the cities they visit, is completely different from what I had imagined. This is actually the core of the story rather than the trip itself. Given reports in the last year we saw in newspapers about how risky it is for women to travel alone, this journey creates extra difficulties. The woman obviously has no clue that such dangers exist, and must be warned many times against going out alone (and of course, she violates the rule a few times when needing food). Apart from men bothering women underway, there are the extra dangers in the form of several borders they have to cross. All along the journey she and her daughter are accompanied by a deserter (former border policeman), who they accidentally meet near the village soon after their departure. Initially unwilling to allow him to travel along with them, she gradually accepts his support though still reluctantly until the end. He proves to be very street wise, in addition to providing for "proper" male company. The three together look very much like a normal couple with child, preventing a lot of awkward questions and smoothing their passage through border crossings. The child role is played by a girl who now is 4.5 years old. She has not acted before. They auditioned on many places, but all those girls had already some camera experience and that was showing. All three main characters (woman, man and child) are perfectly casted and perform very well in their respective roles. And don't forget the additional role of the several times changing environment that we see pass by along the trip. All in all, the relationship between the man and the woman does not develop in the direction of the happy end one could expect superficially. The uncertainty how and where this trip will end, and what they will find in their assumed destination New Delhi, creates a certain tension that is maintained throughout the running time. The story line can scatter in any direction, and extra plot ingredients are amply present underway where many obstacles have to be surmounted. Anyway, festival visitors ranked this film at 57th place (out of 200), which can be deemed average (neither good nor bad). The finale was not totally clear to me, and certainly different from the "happily lived ever after" one could assume from the outset. That unclarity need not be deemed a defect, and it may even be better this way by leaving something to our imagination.
Adventure / Drama / Family
Adventure / Drama / Family
A mother and her daughter embarks on a desperate journey to find her missing husband. She met an guy who promised to help her for money. With limited money it become difficult to continue the search which leads to anxiety and despair.
October 28, 2020