The second in her trilogy, Water, is even more powerful than Fire, the first installation released nearly a decade ago. A slant remake of Romeo & Juliet based in Varanasi at the time of Ghandi’s release from prison, the story of Chuyia, the seven year old widow sent to a widow’s ashram, is utterly transporting. Epic, larger than life, and yet these characters are deeply moving. The acting was incredible. The scenery–in typical Mehta glorious detail, her delicate courtship of the real and the sentimental. Sometimes she loses, but only briefly. In the end, no one in the arch audience at BAM stirred until ALL the credits were over.
Quite a different experience from two night prior and Friends With Money which succeeds in odd ways, but is depressing despite a knock-out cast. The best Holofcener seems to think straight women can do is find a gay man willing to marry them. Were we supposed to feel compassion for those characters? Not one of them likeable. Like Raymond Carver but without the little grace moments…yes, Virginia, the women really are hollow.