India Matri Bhumi

My favorite Roberto Rossellini film is perhaps the hardest one to see–the restored French version of this 1959 masterpiece about India, which survives in only one unsubtitled print. (The more accessible Italian version is considerably shorter, and inferior in other respects as well.) Fortunately, the French version has been privately subtitled on video by Rossellini biographer Tag Gallagher, and Chicago Cinema Forum will project it twice this weekend. A sublime symbiosis of fable and nonfiction, India Matri Bhumi simply and poetically interrelates humans and animals, city and village, and society and nature over four separate stories. This visionary work is especially striking in the way its objective and subjective narrators merge into one another, reflecting not only the idea of reincarnation, but also the greater unity to which all of them belong. In French with subtitles. 95 min. Reviewed this week in Section 1. a Fri 8/31, 10:30 PM, and Sun 9/2, 7:30 PM, Chopin Theatre, 1543 W. Division, 773-278-1500 or 312-480-1966. –Jonathan Rosenbaum

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