Books and Movies Reviews

The Passage from Tradition into Modernity

The films Daughters of the Dust and Fire each address the cultural passage from tradition to modernity.On one hand are duties, obligations, and traditions. On the other are needs, desires, and freedom. Wars between these two antagonistic camps have been fought through the ages across many societies around the world.While the progression in each film is demonstrated to be anything but smooth, as it is shown that it is nearly impossible to extricate modernity completely from tradition, it is a transition that is also looked upon as inevitable.
The battleground in Deepa Mehta’s Fire is the tradition-bound society of modern-day India, where it depicts two women’s discovery of lesbian desire and self-expression, freedoms that directly challenge the social order and the conventional family unit.The role of the Indian woman is re-defined; no longer do wives submit without question to the whims of their husbands, and this shift is causing tremors throughout the entire Indian culture.Fire shows the causes and effects of one such tiny reverberation. Duty, not love, is what tradition demands from a wife to her husband and in this environment, it is only natural that Sita and Radha become fast friends, and, in time, much more than that.These women's relationship is forbidden, but by giving into their feelings for each other they discover the strength to defy their husbands and turn their backs on tradition. This is the tale of two vital, beautiful women breaking the cultural obstacles of tradition and being reborn through the passion they express for each other in the modernity of the emancipated individual-focused world.
The film is reality based yet it glides into a surreal flashback and more specifically there is another humorous dream scene that shows the mythological roots for the story — the title itself refers to the scene, in which the God Rama makes his wife — also named Sita — dance through fire in order to prove he…

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