I just saw Slumdog Millonaire today. I loved the movie. It is not a masterpiece but it is an extremely good and intelligent movie. It is also very moving. I should add that I'm generally a fan of Danny Boyle's films.
I'll give a quick interpretation of the movie, so SPOILER ALERT - don't continue reading unless you saw the film or don't care to know everything before hand.
First notice the scene with the shit. That scene summarizes the whole movie: His passion leads him to go through shit, but in the end that shit is exactly what allows him to get what he wants.
(The banal version: he is locked in a shithole but sees the sun, the aspirations (above) and the way out (through the bottom). I would prefer to bring the image of him covered in shit running, but couldn't find a good one.)
Second, the It is written scene. The show's (who wants to be a millionaire) host writes him the right answer. He reads it, but then he knows by now people jealousy and what it makes them do and understands the host's jealousy and that he should say the opposite. (He uses a 50/50 to get a choice of 2, and so to have an opposite). That's one reading. The other, and the reason he smiles, is that nothing is written. He is a slumdog and supposed to continue to be, or at least not to advance much - that is what people see is written, that is what the policemen at the beginning see. But not himself, no, he doesn't think his life is written but is yet to be written. In that scene he claims his future. It is no longer his past which led to this point, his past which gives him the answer, no, he is now claiming an unwritten future for himself!
On the other side of it the movie shows nicely how at every moment we are constructed from our past. (some could be reminded of the good bad who knows joke). But then again, the past does not decide our future.
The question of fate, and Karma, the movie taking place in India, is always present. With the ending being that at the end, well, your past, claiming your future takes you only so far, but it is luck which decides at the end.
I also thought the acting was superb.
The last scene I'll mention is the great dance scene to close the movie, a la Bollywood. I must admit I've never seen a Bollywood film. I've seen many Indian films, for example the great Satyajit Ray, and some modern ones, but it's the first time I really feel like seeing one. Besides being simply fun, it also made me think how difficult it is to understand what is usually called low-brow-culture of a different culture. I know the American one very well, and I can relate to the high-brow culture of other cultures with Ray, Kurosawa, Mizoguchi, and so on, but their popular culture - that's much more inaccessible I feel. (which reminds me of this post
on the Bidet).
What then did you think of the movie? Or of the questions on culture it raises?