Review: ‘Final Solution’

A knowledge of Indian politics might be helpful for understanding the opening barrage of explanatory titles in "Final Solution," but it is not needed to follow the harrowing stories about victims of the 2002 slaughter of Muslims in the Indian state of Gujarat. Censorship at home means docu's chances rest solely on fest exposure.

A knowledge of Indian politics might be helpful for understanding the opening barrage of explanatory titles in “Final Solution,” but it is not needed to follow the harrowing stories about victims of the 2002 slaughter of Muslims in the Indian state of Gujarat. Taking the Muslim side, helmer Rakesh Sharma makes a good case for the controversial belief that there was state and national government complicity in the tragedy and that it was a pre-planned genocidal onslaught. Censorship at home means docu’s chances rest solely on fest exposure; judicious trimming would add limited cable exposure to the possibilities.

After mounting tensions led to a Muslim attack on a train carrying Hindu pilgrims in which a carriageful of the pilgrims were burned to death, the ensuing revenge slaughter left thousands of Muslims dead or maimed and untold numbers of women raped and families left homeless. Docu’s Muslim interviewees don’t spare gruesome details. They are contrasted with mostly unsympathetic Hindus arguing the killing spree never happened. Scenes of truly frightening political rallies show mob fear transformed into bloodthirsty hatred. Harsh video work is on the cheap side, but night scenes are legible.

Final Solution

India

Production

An ACT Assn. Cinema & TV production. Produced, directed, written, edited by Rakesh Sharma.

Crew

Camera (color, Betacam), Tanmay Agarwal, Sharma; music, Sharma. Hindi and Gujarati dialogue. Reviewed at Turin Film Festival (Detours), Nov. 14, 2004. Running time: 149 MIN.
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