Monday, December 6, 2021

Review of “Peepal Tree”: Indian eco-drama doesn’t quite fit

The Times aims to review cinematic films during COVID-19 pandemic… Since going to the movies is risky at this time, we remind readers to follow safety and health guidelines. developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and local health officials

A biography on the website of Indian filmmaker Kranti Kanade states that he planted over 8,000 trees. These environmental concerns are the driving force behind his latest film, Peepal Tree, in which Canada plays a conscientious man who prompted action after discovering that the police academy adjacent to his property was illegally cutting down old pipals and banyan trees. (These fig varieties have historical and religious significance in India.)

Initially, the situation, which we are told was inspired by real events, creates a kind of bureaucratic comedy with the character Kanade (in the credits – “He”) and his wife (Isha Tucker, you guessed it, “She”). ) a complaint to law enforcement agencies about a violation of the law, about which they then learn that this is a crime that does not have the right to arrest. When shame, logic, and lively environmental talk get nowhere with spouses and their neighbors, they turn to a tree-climbing activist (Vinay Sharma) who adheres to toothless environmental laws that have allowed developers to roam free of fines. He introduces the couple to a community of like-minded people who meet regularly to stop the felling of trees.

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Filmed in a loose, documentary, portable style that favors argument and mood over traditional storytelling or character construction, Peepal Tree boasts compelling immediacy about its central issue, presented – precisely – as a threat to life everywhere. But he also suffers from (ahem) lack of homogeneity in his tone and structure, so that enlightenment is always dulled by the winding paths of his poetry and passion. When, for example, we cannot figure out who the central couple is, the journey seems fluent rather than meaningful.

While the seriousness of purpose and the visuals of whole and chopped trees make Peepal Tree irresistible from time to time, I wish Kanade’s latest film, CRD’s stylish melodrama, had a more poignant audacity to emphasize the film’s relevance. which is clearly a deeply personal crusade for the director.

‘Peepal Tree’

Hindi, Marathi and English with English subtitles

Not rated

Duration: 1 hour, 25 minutes

Plays: Kicks off November 5, Laemmle Monica, Santa Monica; Laemmle Town Center 5, Encino

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