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UW-Eau Claire to Screen 'Water'
March 29-April 1 in Davies Theatre

RELEASED: March 14, 2007

scene from "Water"EAU CLAIRE — "Water," a 2006 Academy Award nominee for Best Foreign Language Film, will screen March 29-April 1 at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. The film by Deepa Mehta, an India-born filmmaker now based in Canada, will be presented at 6 and 8:30 p.m. Thursday through Sunday in Davies Theatre.

"Water" is set in 1938, in pre-independent India, against the backdrop of Mahatma Gandhi's rise to power. Chuyia, an eight-year-old child-bride, hears of her husband's death. Following custom, her father exiles her to an impoverished life at a widow's ashram, where she is meant to live out her days. The child's feisty presence affects the lives of the other residents, particularly that of Kalyani (Lisa Ray), a beautiful 20-year-old widow who breaks tradition and falls in love with a young upper-class Gandhian idealist (John Abraham).

Seven years in the making, "Water" was nearly undone by fierce political controversy when the film's India-based production triggered violent protests by Hindu fundamentalists. In 2000, Mehta was forced to suspend shooting in the holy city of Varanasi. Four years later she remounted the production, under a shroud of secrecy, in the neighboring country of Sri Lanka.

Selected to open the 2005 Toronto International Film Festival, Mehta's unflinching and passionate film received a standing ovation and critical acclaim. "After making 'Water,' I feel I could retire. That is how satisfied I am," Mehta said at the time.

In January it was announced that the Oscar-nominated film would finally be distributed in India in March.

"The film is lovely in the way Satyajit Ray's films are lovely," wrote critic Roger Ebert. "It sees poverty and deprivation as a condition of life, not an exception to it, and finds beauty in the souls of its characters."

"Deepa Mehta's 'Water' is a magnificent film," wrote author Salman Rushdie. "The ensemble acting of the women in the widows' hostel is exceptional: intimate, painful, wounded, jaundiced, corrupted, tender, tough. The fluid lyricism of the camera provides an unsettling contrast to the arid difficulties of the characters' lives. The film has serious, challenging things to say about the crushing of women by atrophied religious and social dogmas, but, to its great credit, it tells its story from inside its characters, rounding out the human drama of their lives, and unforgettably touching the heart."

In Hindi with English subtitles, the 117-minute film is rated PG-13.

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, 715-836-3727, in Davies Center's east lobby and at the door.

The film is sponsored by the International Film Society.

-30-

JS/NW

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