Earth is Deepa Mehta's second installment in a series of stirring Indian films. It deals with India's 1947 partition (into Pakistan and India) by British colonial forces, and forms a wrenching document of how the changing map lines resulted in lethal interethnic conflict whose antagonism remains today.
The film is told through the eyes of 8-year-old Lenny (Maia Sethna) and her Parsee family whose neutrality is contested by escalating violence in their newly realigned border town. Much of the struggle is experienced via her Hindu nanny (Nandita Das), whose two Muslim suitors tussle with allegiance and love. A background of India's partition is helpful to understanding Earth, but the chilling ease with which social calm can snap into violent competition communicates.
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