The Bridges of Madison County

Clint Eastwood

The movie beautifully brings out the love affair, between Robert Kincaid (Clint Eastwood), photographer on an assignment for National Geographic to Madison County and Francesca Johnson, a lonely housewife, played by Meryl Streep (nominated for an Oscar for this role). Both portray the magic of controlled love and the pain of separation so touchingly that the viewer is forced to ask the question ‘why not’ rather than ‘why’ such lovers should not somehow unite. The emotional peak of the movie is the renunciation when Francesca refuses to get out of her husband’s truck to embrace Robert.

As It Is In Heaven

Kay Pollak

The film is about how an internationally reputed music conductor, Daniel, decides to retire to his native village in north Sweden and accepts to act as the church choir’s conductor. He judicially brings out the best in the villagers to take them to an important contest. The touching scenes in the film will bringtears to your eyes.

Amazing Grace

Michael Apted

The movie, which borrows its title from the hymn ‘Amazing Grace’ written by a British slave trader in repentance for his sins, is about how abolitionist William Wilberforce, the passionate British crusader led the drive for abolition of the slave trade in the 19th century despite British Parliament’s opposition. During the whole narrative of the film one is never let to forget the nature of the evil that slavery was and the phenomenal and relentless battle the protagonist had to wage, despite his poor health. It questions how a civilised nation that gave the world the Magna Carta could descend into such heartless barbarity that man inflicts on man. Freedom Writers

Richard La Gravenese

The story takes place after the 1992 Los Angeles riots. Hilary Swank, two time Oscar winner, plays school teacher Erin Gruwell at Woodrow Wilson School in Long Beach. Her challenge is to teach the students who segregate themselves into racial groups. The crux of the film lies in how Erin wins the confidence of the students and transforms them into responsible wards through personal sacrifice. She asks her students to write their diaries in book form and names it The Freedom Writers Diary. The film ends with a note that Gruwell successfully brought many of her students to graduation and college.

John Rabe

Florian Gallenberger

The film recounts the true story of how German businessman John Rabe (Ulrich Tukur), a member of the Nazi Party, decides to save the lives of 2,00,000 Chinese, who work under him by doing everything in his power.

The director maintains the suspense throughout the movie. Tukur’s performance is brilliant. The film has a lot in common with another memorable movie of those times, Schindler’s List.

Those that almost made it

Warrior: Gavin O’Connor

Beyond the Gates of Splendour: Jim Hanon

Harakiri: Masaki Kobayashi

The Celebration: Thomas Vinterberg

The Last Samurai: Edward Zwick

V. Srinivasan is joint secretary of the Indo Cine Appreciation Foundation, Chennai and joint director of the Chennai International Film Festival.

Keywords: My five column