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Brides, pride and prejudice

One of my favorite Jane Austen novels is Pride and Prejudice. I’m attracted to (and always challenged by) its exploration of the dangers and overcoming of, well, pride and prejudice and how these traits cause us to misjudge, react and treat others unfairly. Too often, we—like Elizabeth and Darcy—put people in a box instead of actually paying attention to who they are, their stories, their struggles and their pain. This story is one of the best love stories ever written (both romantic and familial) and portrays the power of forgiveness, humility earned and love to bring about community and right-ness in relationship—all very relevant and biblical themes.

Well, it turns out that this story comes across just as beautifully when it's played out in India as in England. I just finished watching the song-and-dance Bollywood 2004 version, Bride and Prejudice. I’d heard a lot about the Mumbai-based Hindi language film industry in India (actor Will Smith’s Overbrook Entertainment has reportedly signed to produce a pair of movies with an Indian filmmaking company), but I must admit I added this film to our Netflix queue with a bit of skepticism—which was completely unwarranted in this case. The film stars India-superstar Aishwarya Rai as Elizabeth-gone-Indian Lalita and Martin Henderson as an Americanized Darcy (along with Lost’s Naveen Andrews as love-struck Bingley), who eventually overcome their vices amid a spectacular harmony of great music, brilliant and stunning color, beautiful cinematography and wish-I-could-do-that dancing. This film is a real delight to watch.

If Bollywood isn’t your thing (yet), I highly recommend the 2005 UK version of the Austen tale, a more weighty and dramatic adaptation starring Keira Knightley as Elizabeth and Matthew Macfadyen as Darcy.

One of the things I absolutely loved about this film was the way Elizabeth and Darcy literally dance or move around each other throughout the story; they seem to be in constant circular motion (dancing, walking, ect.), moving towards and away from each other. Great device.

Also, the scene near the end of the film where Elizabeth and Darcy meet by chance (or fate) in the morning dawn took my breath way (but then, I’m a romantic, heh).

Good stories make for good films. And I think these two bring some good talk—biblical and relevant—into open spaces.

(Images: Bride & Prejudice, Miramax Films; Pride & Prejudice, Working Title Films and Focus Films)