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Indian Film 'The Terrorist' to Screen at UW-Eau Claire

RELEASED: Feb. 21, 2005

EAU CLAIRE — "The Terrorist" — a 1999 drama from India about a 19-year-old suicide bomber marching toward the end of her life — will be presented March 3-6 at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. The feature-film debut of cinematographer Santosh Sivan will screen at 6 and 8:30 p.m. Thursday through Sunday in Davies Theatre.

"'The Terrorist'' is a small masterpiece," wrote San Francisco Chronicle reviewer Mick LaSalle. "It's also something of a miracle. It was shot in 17 days on a tiny budget, with amateur actors, and yet it is lush and beautiful, and the performances are perfection."

"The Terrorist" tells the story of Malli (Ayesha Dharkar), a young woman whose life has a brutal inevitability about it. Deeply affected by the death of her brother, she decides to follow his example and joins a terrorist organization — for the cause.

She learns at an early age to suppress her feelings so that only the cause of her people has meaning. In a life where death is constant, each frail human contact, each fragile touch, is ruthlessly destroyed. Malli molds herself into a thing that mechanically carries out the orders of the organization. She feels intense pride when she is chosen over others for the grotesque honor of being a suicide bomber, the chance to die as a martyr. But as she awaits death with the certainty of someone about to catch a train, her long-denied inner self makes itself felt, and unknown emotions swamp her being.

"'The Terrorist' does not name its time or place," wrote film critic Roger Ebert, "but it seems broadly inspired by the 1991 assassination of India's Rajiv Gandhi. It is not a political film, but a personal one. If you have ever wondered what kind of person volunteers to become a human bomb, and what they think about in the days before their death, this film wonders, too. … The movie is quiet and persuasive as it shows Malli learning more about her life — in what may be her last days — than she ever knew before."

In Tamil subtitled in English, the 95-minute film is not rated.

Admission is $2 for International Film Society members and UW-Eau Claire faculty and staff and $1 for UW-Eau Claire students. Tickets are available at the University Service Center in Davies Center's east lobby, (715) 836-3727.

The film is sponsored by the UW-Eau Claire International Film Society.

-30-

JS/NW

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