Trishna, written and directed by Michael Winterbottom, is an unusual interpretation of Tess of the d’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy. The film replaces the 19th century England setting of the novel with modern day India, which turns out to be a great and unforgettable backdrop for this tragic love story.
Trishna (Freida Pinto) lives with her family in Rajasthan. She meets Jay (Riz Ahmed), a son of a wealthy businessman, and they eventually grow closer and fall in love. The difference in social status and a chain of circumstances lead to a tragic conclusion of their relationship.
Freida Pinto truly shines as Trishna, showing an incredible range of emotions, all in a raw and believable way. While the performances are mostly strong, some of the characters’ motivations are not always entirely understandable, with Trishna being the only character that gets a proper development. However, the camera work and the soundtrack work magic, creating a rich atmosphere, with an especially powerful sequence taking place at the end of the film. Trishna also succeeds in showing different sides of India, with a sharp contrast between the hectic energy of Mumbai and the life in Rajasthan. It’s not the easiest film to watch, but certainly worth a try.
Trishna is now playing at the Ritz Five.