Cinema: Subcontinental Divide

In two new films, Indian youth struggles for independence

American cinema, like American politics, is an us-first industry. It rarely looks outside its own swagger and complacency to take notice of other cultures. And when it does, it often sees ethnic differences not as alternate world views but as tribal foibles, worthy only of our imperial derision. We ignore or scorn those who may one day be our masters.

So a director like John Schlesinger -- England-bred but with a resume full of Hollywood hits (Midnight Cowboy, Marathon Man) -- earns some respect when, in his new film Madame Sousatzka, he considers the clash of Anglo and Indian cultures. And...

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