Paar ★★★★

a young couple flees their village in rural bihar after local struggles lead to a murder and then a massacre - their flight towards destitution on the streets of calcutta and the desperate decision to make the crossing of the title (herding 36 pigs across an enormous, overflowing river at high tide) being intercut with flashbacks of sorts to the slowly bursting political tensions that brought them to this point.

if goutam ghose is slightly undercut by his journalists need to dot every i and cross every t in explaining his political context and his central allegory (this is a film with serious structural issues, often seems to be least three different movies, each of which comprised of loosely connected episodes), he is saved by his extraordinary photographic eye (he is cinematographer - and music composer! - here as well as writer/director), creating a terrifying landscape that seems to only exist between dusk and dawn. like most great photographer/directors he avoids easy beautiful framing, nearly every choice here is slightly perverse and very moving.

and for all the weight it has to carry, the crossing of the river sequence is truly extraordinary in its physical dimensions, like the animal scenes from hatari! in hell.

nrh liked this review