Michael Winterbottom’s (Welcome to Sarajevo, 9 Songs, A Mighty Heart) Trishna, competing at the ongoing Abu Dhabi Film Festival, has been acquired by Artificial Eye for distribution in Ireland and the U.K.
Adapted from Thomas Hardy’s classic novel, Tess of the d’Urbervilles, Trishna is Winterbottom’s third tryst with Hardy, his other two being Jude (from Jude the Obscure) and The Claim (The Mayor of Casterbridge).
India’s Frieda Pinto (Slumdog Millionaire, Miral, You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger, Black Gold) and Riz Ahmed (The Road to Guantanamo, Shifty, Four Lions) will essay contemporary characters in Trishna, set entirely in Rajasthan and Mumbai.
Pinto plays the daughter of a poor autorickshaw driver, and her life changes almost unrecognisably when she meets the son of a rich property developer from Britain. Torn between her love for the young man and the pressures of a society in conflict (globalisation and tradition, family and dreams driven by her education), Pinto’s Trishna faces a tumultuous future.
Trishna had its world premiere at Toronto in September, and is now all set for its Middle East opening. It will also screen at the London Film Festival, starting on October 22.
Screen critic Allan Hunter wrote: “Trishna is infused with the spirit of India. Winterbottom is able to convey the tensions in a complex nation that respects traditional values and yet rushes to embrace all the liberties and luxuries of a booming modern economy.”
Winterbottom has had this exceptional ability to swing between vastly different genres. While his early Welcome to Sarajevo was documentary in style hitting out on the harsh realities of a people in turmoil, his A Mighty Heart looked passionately at the tragic murder of a Wall Street Journal reporter in Pakistan. His Hardy adaptations were sweetly romantic, while critically exposing the social dynamics then and now. These were often remarkable studies of conflicts and contrasts.