Earth

A group of friends that includes Hindus, Muslims, and Sikhs—and two men competing for the affection of one woman—is torn apart by the partitioning of India in 1947. The woman (Nandita Das) works as a nanny, and her eight-year-old charge (Maia Sethna) is insulated by her Parsi family's wealth and neutrality from the violence that erupts around her. All the characters in this damning 1998 history lesson represent individuals as well as the politics of groups, so all the movie's metaphors must also function as elements of a realist narrative; unfortunately the allegory tends to overpower the characterizations even as it deepens them. Written and directed by Deepa Mehta (Fire), based on a semiautobiographical novel by Bapsi Sidhwa; with Aamir Khan and Rahul Khanna. 104 min.

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