Saturday, 26 February 2011

West is West

I didn't see East is East which was released quite some years ago, but I came across it when working on my previous research project and recognised the similar title of this film - they're indeed made by the same people! But to be honest, after seeing the film I don't see how 'West is West' - the relevance of the title. If I haven't interpreted it wrongly then it's exactly this that the film sets out to challenge.

The film's set in the 1970s, when racial discrimination is still *publicly* rampant in England (not like it's not now but it's a lot more subtle I would say). It's about a Pakistani father and his half-Pakistani son's journey of self-discovery and root-finding, but to be honest I don't really see a conclusion or a satisfied 'result' here - the boy's transformation from a typical discriminated teenager who hates his Pakistani heritage to someone who knows how to appreciate it is not very well captured, as I don't think a few episodes of 'lessons' with a supposedly wise old man who hasn't really said much about things would be enough for that. The father also doesn't seem to have learned or be able to change much in his journey - he left a mess of his family in Pakistan when he left them 30 years ago, and this trip back home doesn't seem to have changed anything for them. His first wife's heart's shattered long ago and he fails to do anything to compensate, and his action of building a house doesn't really make much sense - he's trying to compensate, I guess, but it's clearly not the way to do it, just like it's not enough for him to send money back every year. At the end of the film he still hasn't succeeded in atoning...

An interesting film but the details haven't been worked out very carefully!

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