Shamelessly and expertly manipulative, this four-hour-long tale of colonial India, told from the point of view of the colonized, is a Bollywood (as the Hindu film industry is called) musical epic with a triumph-of-the-underdog plot familiar to Western audiences from our own homegrown sports films.
Made in 1953, and starring Jean Arthur, Van Heflin and Alan Ladd as Shane, this isn't just a western; it's director George Stevens’ masterwork in which every little detail seems to contribute to the intensity in the air. Don't forget to get to the Redford Theatre a half-hour early for the organ overture.
The spirit of the mythical American West runs at the head of a herd of wild mustangs who live and breathe — like their two-legged, Disney-animated counterparts, the Lakota — on the open golden plains fed by the rushing Cimarron. But at least in this spirited pony ride, the Indians are the good guys.
Despite the high-action chases and the climactic fight scene, this flick isn’t a true thriller. It’s soap-opera revenge for any woman who cheered Lorena Bobbit and identified with and mourned for Nicole Brown-Simpson — with Jennifer Lopez.
For those unfamiliar with Ethiopian dining, a big part of the draw is that you get to eat with your hands (steaming washcloths are tendered before and after) and then eat the tablecloth. At the Blue Nile, you get only two all-you-can-eat choices: four meats and seven vegetables for $17.90, or all veg for $14.90 (kids eat for half price). Chicken, lamb, beef, collards, cabbage, and several varieties of split peas and lentils are arranged on a large shared round of flat, spongy bread, called injera (that’s the tablecloth). Diners use small pieces of injera to scoop up the food, and the juices soak into the plattered injera so that the last part of the meal is the tastiest. As if eating with your hands weren’t fun enough, the food is delectable and unusual. Colors are bright: a mound of dark green collards, a puree of red lentils, bright yellow split peas and a paler cabbage (my favorite) sautéed with jalapeño. Each is exquisitely spiced, often with onion and garlic, or with a barbecuelike berbere sauce. Lessanework takes pains to point out that his lamb is boiled and stripped of fat to avoid any muttony flavor. Chicken, served in two varieties, is skinned.