Roberto Rossellini (1958)
India is one of Rosellini’s most elusive masterpieces. After its first screening in this country, a sole showing arranged by the Cinematheque Francaise, Michael McKegney wrote in The Village Voice (Oct.8, 1970):
“India, on the other hand, is guaranteed to satisfy every sensibility. A sensuous symphony of earth and flesh, yet all the more deeply spiritual thereby. Several loosely connected vignettes depicting the central impulses of men and the other animals - birth, death, sex, work, and play - unfold at a leisurely pace with a landscape that unites and contains them all, serving as a means to reveal the harmony of the universe. Elephants, tigers, monkeys, oxen, snakes, and flies abound, but India on its most profound level is concerned with life only as one form of movement. The rapid rhythms of urban activity, the steady flow of great rivers, the throbbing pulse of an electronic generator, the inexorable passage of clouds over the high Himalayas, and finally the unpredictable flight of a single bird - Rossellini’s camera observes all, and provides for our eyes a common center of gravity, enabling us to glimpse for a brief moment the great circular pattern of the cosmos.”
Filmed in color which has since disintegrated in all available prints, India will be shown in the black-and-white print which Rossellini made available to PFA after his visit here in 1973.
• Directed by Roberto Rossellini. (1958, 90 mins, Italian narration without English titles, Print from PFA Collection)