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English 3 Blair

Wednesday 9:35 28 April 2017
The Tragic Consequences of Non-Conformism by Certain Members of Society: Deepa
Mehta's Earth and Gavin Hood's Rendition.

The films Earth by Deepa Metha and Rendition by Gavin Hood explore the ever changing
relationships in an unstable society where the consequences of non- conformationdisrupting
to societal expectations and norms are often tragic. Whilst both films have different catalysts,s
they both result in the ultimate destruction of society, reflected through the characters
breakdown of relationships and the shattering of families. This is also highlighted in the
characters experiences, specifically Shanta and Anwar, struggles with different cultures and
ideologies whilst attempting to stick to their heritagecultural change and continuity,
individual morality and to find their place in the middle of the two.

The film Earth depicts the gainevents of Indias independence resultingwhich

resulted in Indias partition and subsequentlysubsequent leading to a division of the divided
community based on religious beliefsgrounds. This film depicts the aftermath of British
colonization through bloodshed and violence which is witnessed by the films main characters,
specifically Lenny, Shanta and Hasan , in Lahore. This behaviour not only leadcontributed
to an increasing bigger divide between religious groups, but resulted in further fracturing of
India as a whole due to its transmissionpervasive effects throughouton families and,
relationships andas well as individual morals and values. This is reflected through Lennys
experiences throughout the film.
Rendition, however, follows the lives of the El- lbrahimi family in America as well
as the Fawal family in Northen Africa, leading up to and following the aftermath of a suicide
bomb. The films title, which refers to the inhumane interrogation of suspected terrorists by
the United States, plays a significant role in introducing the subject matter and setting the tone
for the film. The portrayal of Rendition in the film is conveyed through the use of multiple
perspectives allowing for the telling of numerous individual stories and questioning the
morality of America and Western society.
Whilst both films have different reasons for the outcome of tragedy, they have a
mutual factor of Western interference nugging them towards the final conclusion of violence.
Lenny, who is raised as an anglophile, represents the western norms and culture due to her
mothers influence, but sees a polar opposite side of India during her experiences with Shanta.
Lennys two opposing worlds are first introduced at a dinner party held by her family where a
fight between a British police inspector and a Sikh family friend erupted over the impending
gain of independence while Lenny observed from underneath the dinner table. This fight
represented the divide occuringoccurring in India due to the British colony being disguarded
and the effect of the colonies overpowering ideologies and implemented systems.
In Redition this is seen through the interference of America in the unnamed African
country when a CIA agent is accendentlyaccidentally killed. This accident leadresulted in the
CIA, specifically Corrine Whitman, a CIA agent, to the capturinge of Anwar, an Egyptian
Muslim living in America, who was subjected to numerous tactics of tourturetorture based on
his nationality and family ties.
The films also depicts the revolt against authority and governmental forces. This was
evident in Earth through the scenes of protests joined by Dil Navaz and Shanta which lead
to the arrest of one of their friends and numerous other young adults. Renditions revolt
against authority is much closer to the plot of the film as it is directed towards, and ends in, a
suicide bomb aimed at Abbas-I Fawal, an interrigatorinterrogator for the CSI. This unsettled
and violent behvaiourbehaviour is a reaccuringrecurring theme throughout both films.
Violence plays a large role as a catalyistcatalyst in the films. Earth is filled with
these scenes which progress in intensity as the film progresses. Whilst the violence is first
portrayed from an individual lenselens through Dil Navaz it quickly progresses to mob
violence without fear of reprecutionrepercussion or consequences and finally results in
ubductionabduction and heartless behaviour. In an attempt to flee from violence Dil Navazs
family escape to Lahore. WhenRather than meeting themhis family at the train station as
planned, rather than finding his beloved family he walks into thea scene of a mass killing and
mutationmutilation in which his family were murdered. This scene was a pivitolpivotal point
in the film as it marked the change in Dils character to one who exhibited these violent
behaviours. This violence began to surface when two opposing religious groups tied a man up
to two vehicles and split his body in half and rather than attempting to help Dil showed no
sympathy or efforts to help the dying man. Dils behviour also escelatedescalated throughout
the film, as he was the main instigator in the capture and abduction of Shanta, his former love
intrestinterest and supposed friend. Whilst there was no clarrifcationclarification as to what
Shantas abduction led to it was indicated that she was sexually assultedassaulted. This ending
was thought provoking and gave a glimpse into the reality of what many families experienced
due to the partition and transnationalism.
Rendition portraysincludes both pervasive scenes of violentviolence scenes
throughout the film as well as portrayinga the history of violence which was the motive
ofmotivated the attack. Khalid, the boyfriend of Fawals daughter Fatima, is a member of a
terrorist group. Khalids brother died as a result of Fawals actions and he is planning the
suicide bomb into avengenceavenge of his brother. Meanwhile, Fawal is
interrogratinginterrogating and torturing Anwar based on racial and cultural stereotypes due to
his status as a transnational subjectprofiling. Anwars torture is gruesome and cruel , during
which Fawal shows no remorse, sympathy or emotion resulting in Anwar fasleyfalsely
addmittingadmitting to the crimes due to his unbearable pain. This response shows how
accustomed Fawal is to violence and torture raising questions as to the culture he resides in as
well as his morality. The audience is then prompted to ask how frequently this occurs in
relation to the successes occuringoccuring from this kind of tourturetorture.
Transnationalism plays a large roll in the films due to the stereoptypesstereotypes and
dislike for anything or anyone different to societiessocietys norms. The film Earth spoke to
this issue due to the forced movement of non- Muslims out of Lahore, leaving behind not only
their physical assets but their lives, families, jobs and friends. The only alternative to this
would be to convert religions and once again lose all they have known thereby, compromising
morals, values and core beliefs. Shantis unwillingnesssunwillingness to submit to leaving
Lahore resulted in her untimleyuntimely death whilst Dil Navazs familysies compliaence to
this stillalso resulted in their deaths. The splitting of India as well as the consstruction of
ideological and geographical boarders is illustrated through Lennys behaviour when she
ripped her doll in half following the mob attack she witnessed. . This makedmade a bold
statement regarding the postcolonial state of India andin terms of the literal and ideological
separation of both physical India as well as within communities and relationships where no
.attempts of reconciliation and backtracking could repair the damage done, as seen by
Shantas frantic effort to re-stitch Lennys doll seems to suggest the futility of attempting to
reconciliate or redress in order to repair the damage done.
In the context of Rendition the transnational subject is Anwar, his hybridity
exposingexposes him to stereotypes surrounding his Egyptiaon culture and hertitageheritage,
regardless of him having spent the majority of his life living in America and raisinghaving
raised his family there. The effect of anti- terrorism prisionsprisons such as the one
dipicteddepicted in the film has a huge effect on the non- American individuals involved in
the process. The film allows the audience to see the consequences of America s anti-
terrorism tactics, specifically on the El- lbrhimi family, and question their reasoning of
whether the end justifies the means. This is highlighted by Corrine Whitman, the head of the
American CIA, when she justfifiesjustifies tourturetorture in order to ensure the safety of her
grandchildren in London, who are ironically also transnational subjects. This questions not
only Americas morality but the reasons behind allowing such horrific behaviour.

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