A retelling of Tess of the D'Ubervilles set in 21st-century Rajasthan isn't everyone's cup of chai, but the extraordinary Trishna gets spiced with a shot of Michael Winterbottom and sweetened with Frida Pinto. This is one of the best movies we've ever seen at the Tribeca Film Festival.
Poor, beautiful Trishna becomes the object of lust, love, and cruelty for Jay, a wealthy young businessman. Winterbottom rolls the two male lovers in Hardy's original into the handsome Jay. But, as in Hardy's novel, the arrival of the modern world threatens the simpler pastoral life, which turns out to be not so great in any case.
Fascinatingly, Winterbottom used mostly non-actors to populate the movie. Coupled with the dialect, colors, and music, the movie feels contemporary and authentic. Their tragic story acts as a metaphor for old and new India, the rural and the urban.