I love this movie.  This tale is staged in a rural village somewhere in India.  The story follows Jabaya, who is the young son of the village’s only family of Untouchables.  They are the lowest caste in India, viewed with derision.

Jabaya struggles with a desire for more than his caste can offer him. He wants to attend school, but his needed contributions to the families financial survival make it hard to keep up with lessons and attend classes.  He is ashamed of his clothes and ashamed of the duties that befall the family.  They are often called upon by the village to catch wild pigs that are causing a disruption, an act no one else will participate in because touching a pig makes a person unpure.  The father, a generally mild-mannered man, is always feeling the financial pressure of his poverty, of having to supply for the family and will humbly accept being demeaned to make survival possible.  This pressure which builds upon him as he tries to save money for his daughter’s dowry and becomes increasingly aware that his son is ashamed of his family.

Jabaya dreams of the affection of a girl from a higher caste and seeks to avoid being humiliated in front of her. However, his family is bullied by members of the village, and she often witnesses it.  His shame, his frustration, and his anger build with each incident.

The slow pace of the movie allows for a lot of room to appreciate the reality of living in such circumstances.  The daily life and struggles give us a chance to have a more meaningful experience, instead of drama the movie focuses on realism.  This makes each hardship easy to relate to and more authentically emotional.

Spoiler alert:

Eventually, the family has to complete the degrading act of catching a pig in front of the whole village.  The mockery Jabaya endures afterward pushes him to the breaking point.

 

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