Last night I went to an early screening of the film Water by acclaimed Canadian filmmaker Deepa Mehta, whose 1996 film Fire sparked rioting in her native India upon its release. (Seems the radical Hindus back home didn't dig the storyline involving two women who leave their husbands and wind up in a lesbian relationship.) Anyway, Mehta's new film was troubled before its release; in fact, it took five years to get Water boiling, when rioting occured during production and forced its shut-down. Mehta introduced the movie last night at the Magnolia and said that despite its setting (on the banks of the Ganges in Sri Lanka) and its storyline (about the "widow houses" to which the wives of the dead were, and still are, banished), "the movie has strong Dallas connections." She then mentioned that it was executive produced by a guy from Dallas, Doug Mankoff, who has the same credit on this year's Oscar-winning Best Foreign Language Film Tsotsi, among many others. When asked after the screening how Mankoff got involved, Mehta said only, "I don't know, but he was wonderful." Mankoff didn't attend last night; he was in Los Angeles and in his place sent his mother, awww. --Robert Wilonsky
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