Directed by: Michael Winterbottom
117 minutes

New England Premiere

Director Michael Winterbottom (THE TRIP, IFFBoston 2011) transports Thomas Hardy’s novel Tess of the d’Urbervilles to modern-day India, updating the classic story of a woman trapped by her social and economic circumstances. Like Winterbottom’s TRISTRAM SHANDY: A COCK AND BULL STORY, this is not a strict or traditional literary adaptation, but it retains and revises the themes of sexual exploitation and double standards that pervade the original story. Sumptuously shot by frequent Winterbottom collaborator Marcel Zyskind (THE KILLER INSIDE ME, IFFBoston 2010), the lush landscape of rural Rajasthan substitutes for the English countryside of Hardy’s Wessex. Meanwhile, vibrant costuming and a romantic score highlight the tragic elements of the tale.

Trishna (Frieda Pinto, SLUMDOG MILLIONARE) is a beautiful, sheltered young woman who has left school to help raise her sisters and brothers and make money for her family. By chance, she catches the eye of Jay (Riz Ahmed, FOUR LIONS), the privileged son of a wealthy resort-hotel mogul. After an accident ruins her father’s livelihood, Trishna accepts Jay’s offer of a well-paying job and his tokens of affection. But as Trishna allows herself to be swept away by Jay’s glamorous lifestyle, the freedom and equality she dreams of turn out to be more elusive than they appeared.

—Kristina Aikens