Filmed in the Himalayas with stupendous vistas, The Warrior (2001) is a hero-tale of stark violent beauty.
A truly international film, it is set in medieval India, its language is Hindi, it's based on a Japanese folk tale, & it was a joint British-French-German production, with score by an Italian, cinematography by a Nigerian.
It also reflects some influence of the best Hollywood westerns by John Ford & just a whisper of Sergio Leone.
It is fortunately devoid of any Bollywood kitsch though starring a leading Bollywood actor, Irfan Khan, as Lafcadia the Warrior.
It was a justly a recipient of BAFTA's Alexander Korda Award & the British Film Institute's Sutherland Trophy for it's British-Indian director Asif Kapadia, besides numerous festival awards.
Irfan Khan possesses one of the most extraordinary faces ever filmed. And most of the cast is non-professionals, street kids from Mumbai, an old blind woman who was an actual market woman with stunning charisma, & many such, all splendid.
A band of warriors serves a cruel minor lord. They attack villages to rape & loot for extra income. Among them is Lafcadia, a father himself, who has a crisis of conscience killing families who can't pay their taxes, or robbing a helpless village.
But his lord warns him, "No one leaves my service." To quit his cruel work will mean his own head.
He tries to run away with his son Katiba (Puru Chibber), but the boy is captured. After identifying a head as that of his father, in order to stop the hunt, the boy's throat is slit.
Riaz (Noor Mani), a young thief, begins following the depressed, grieving, lonesome warrior, as he has nothing better to do, & has no family.
The local warlord's band of warriors killed his entire family years before. It's even possible Lafcadia participated.
The cruel men with whom he once rode won't stop pursuing him. They kill innocent people everywhere along their search.
Although he threw away his sword & never wants to kill again, he comes to realize it is the same as killing if he hides while innocent people are slain.
He's one day confronted by one of the men pursuing him, who says, "You showed me this life. I won't let you walk away," & he demands a duel.
This is a frank & amazing story of a man who cast away or lost everything in life, but found that Destiny refused to abandon him.
A quiet & incredibly beautiful film despite its moments of violence, The Warrior is a deeply spiritual film in ways that reminded me of Akira Kurosawa's Dursu Uzala (1975), Ping He's Swordsmen in Double Flag Town (Shuang Qi Zhen doake, 1991, or Geoff Murphy's Utu (1983). A film this marvelous seems beyond human ability to create, & yet here it is.
copyright © by Paghat the Ratgirl