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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I Discovered the Meaning of Life with this VHS Cassette.
Never before has a film touched me so profoundly. As a laid-off, job-hunting new bride thrust into becoming a housewife, when I planned to remain a type-A career woman, I was fuzzy about what life was supposed to be. On our new one-income budget, my new husband and I don't have extra funds for entertainment. So he popped in the movie, "City of Joy" for our...
Published on July 17 2001 by Alicia Howard

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Many better options to this
I read the book, have seen the movie and have visited Kolkata. I'm troubled by the book and the movie. I felt the book trivialized poverty and made a sentimental treatment of it. This is because it was viewed through the eyes of a Catholic priest and he was taking voluntary poverty. It is another matter when you have children, live in bone crushing poverty and have...
Published on May 24 2004 by Johnny Na


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Many better options to this, May 24 2004
By 
This review is from: City of Joy (Bilingual) (DVD)
I read the book, have seen the movie and have visited Kolkata. I'm troubled by the book and the movie. I felt the book trivialized poverty and made a sentimental treatment of it. This is because it was viewed through the eyes of a Catholic priest and he was taking voluntary poverty. It is another matter when you have children, live in bone crushing poverty and have fewer choices available to you. (Yet Kolkata is a city of miracles in that the poorest can often find a place and a way to survive there.)
I don't think the movie came close to showing the culture of Kolkata's poor. It was very much a westernized gloss and it definitely pulled punches. Consider just one important cultural element: Indian has many great musicians who have produced centuries of beautiful music. But this film sticks us with an entirely western score.
I am in love with this region and had to read the book and see the film. But if you want to see a film about this part of the world, see anything by Satyajit Ray, Mrinal Sen or Shyam Benegal.
In particular, Satyajit Ray - Apu Trilogy or Two Daughters. Although more modern and middle class, Aguntuk (The Stranger) is also a much better film.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I Discovered the Meaning of Life with this VHS Cassette., July 17 2001
By 
Alicia Howard (Fayetteville, NC) - See all my reviews
This review is from: City of Joy (VHS Tape)
Never before has a film touched me so profoundly. As a laid-off, job-hunting new bride thrust into becoming a housewife, when I planned to remain a type-A career woman, I was fuzzy about what life was supposed to be. On our new one-income budget, my new husband and I don't have extra funds for entertainment. So he popped in the movie, "City of Joy" for our Saturday night theatre. When I saw the horrible conditions these Indians live in, suddenly our one-bedroom apartment seemed like a palace. The job that a main character treasured so much was a task I thought only mules performed. But he took so much pride in this dirty, exhausting job, and was so grateful to serve daily to support his family. Suddenly, the standards I'd set for myself seemed completely unnecessary. Of course I want more, but during this film viewing, I realized I don't need it. As minimalist as I thought I was, what I call suffering is paradise to these people. Americans take our fortune for granted. Seeing people live without things we throw away taught me that you don't have to waste tears and heartache crying over what you don't own. There is much joy to found in things like friendship, caring for others, and family. After the basic needs of food, clothing and shelter are met, the rest is gravy. I have even less money in the bank today than Saturday night. But I feel ten times richer, having watched "City of Joy". I feel some of my neurotic worrying over money melting away, and I am cherishing everything I do have. Things will get better. But until they do, I learned from this movie that they're already good. You can't put a price on peace of mind.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Add this to your library!, June 28 2005
By A Customer
This review is from: City of Joy (Bilingual) (DVD)
This is an awesome emotional movie! It tells the story of a family struggling in the cruel and harsh world of poverty. (In this case in the country of India). But somehow they cope. The beauty and strength of these people is incredible!
The acting and directing is superb!
I can watch this movie over and over.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars East and West don't mix that easily..., May 22 2001
By 
Timothy P. Scanlon (Hyattsville, MDUSA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: City of Joy (VHS Tape)
I lived in Calcutta for a touch over two years not too terribly long before this film was shot there. Yes, I too occasionally took rickshaws, once even pulled the rickshaw wallah myself, thereby averting a disastrous hang-over. I did some shopping in Barrah Bazaar right near Howrah Bridge, etc. etc.
Yeah, there IS real poverty in Calcutta. And crowding beyond your wildest nightmares.
First, I found it ironic that the film company tore down the set once the film was done. It would have provided better living quarters than those of many people I personally knew in Calcutta.
Aside from that, yes Om Puri was great. And I think Art Malik, the nasty guy who's father was the "godfather," and who I first saw in "The Jewel in the Crown," superb series, was excellent too. And some of the other actors, lepers, etc., were outstanding, given their limited market. (Not a whole lot of lepers in other Patrick Swazey flims...errrrr, films....)
OK, it was a cute story. I've seen it now three times--so far--to remind me of the bizarre place I lived and of which I still occasionally have nightmares. But Swazey's lectures to Puri's character, "stand up and fight," was far, far more "Western" than I ran across in Calcutta. I don't want to bust anyone's multi-cultural bubble but that's simply fact.
So, for a Western audience it's credible. But in reality it's a fairy tale. "And they all lived happily ever after."
Yeah, I wish life worked that way. But it doesn't very often.
Kept in the fairy tale context, it's a cute story. But, again, if you get some time in Cal, say hi to some old friends of mine, but don't expect things to happen like they did in this film.
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5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best movies ever made!, March 2 2007
By 
Kay (B.C. Canada) - See all my reviews
This review is from: City of Joy (Bilingual) (DVD)
Why Mr. Om Puri didn't get nominated for an Oscar for this performance is beyond me! I love this movie! I watch it at least once a month! In my opinion this is one of the best movies ever made.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Best of the Best, March 2 2004
By 
This review is from: City of Joy (Bilingual) (DVD)
I am a movie fanatic and this is in my opinion the best film that I have watched ever. It is extremely moving and passionate. I cried three or four different times during this movie. I have been looking to acquire this movie in the past and it is the first time that I find it. It is a good way to see some aspects of India, at least through a window because nothing in life can prepare you to be in India. The drama ocurrs around an Indian family in Calcutta and an american doctor who volunteers to work in a poor neighbourhood. He becomes so involved with the family that...well, you should see the rest by yourself if your are not already a fanatic of this movie. I could say many more things but I will leave it brief and not boring.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Real India, Nov. 26 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: City of Joy (VHS Tape)
Most movies, even the ones from Bollywood gloss over the reality of the poverty, dirtiness etc. This movie is true to the life and culture of the people. The characters are well fleshed out; they seem real and you care about them. Unless you've been to India you might not believe that people can be so poor and not be miserable. This movie shows how everyone can find joy in life, where they are, with what they have. Excellent movie.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Educational, Oct. 20 2003
By 
Shallyn (Ont, Canada) - See all my reviews
This review is from: City of Joy (VHS Tape)
The beginning was kind of slow, and the movie didn't really seem to have anywhere to go, but if you stuck to it, and watched, it developed into this intricate plot. The western and eastern clash of paradigms was very incredible, and when they finally merged and succeeded and overcoming the obstacles it was intense. This movie adressed real issues in India today, and discussed the different views that we have from theirs. And Patrick Swayze is always good eye-candy :)
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4.0 out of 5 stars Touched by City of Joy, Oct. 17 2003
This review is from: City of Joy (VHS Tape)
"Feel good movie" doesn't quite describe City of Joy. Many parts were difficult to watch because of the poverty and ocassional brutality. But it is in my opinion that this is a great movie, both for its story line and character development. The dialogue was exquisite at times, especially that little leper fellow, and the characters were always believeable. Though the ending for the doctor was predictible, nothing else in the story was.
A movie worth watching at least twice.
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5.0 out of 5 stars simply a beautiful film, Nov. 26 2002
By 
DR (10040 Zagreb, Croatia) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: City of Joy (VHS Tape)
The nature of ''the greatest democracy in the world'' exposed(By the way, did you know that India has its fair share in the remaining 27 million men,women and children that still, 150 years after the first publication of Harriet Beecher Stowe's ''Uncle Tom's Cabin'', live in slavery?).Every two seconds a child dies from hunger, that's about 35000 kids a day(!), and the death toll during one year is several times greater than the number of Auschwitz victims during the whole of World War II!6000 people die every day from thirst or diseases connected to inadequate drinking water supplies.Even for those who aren't familiar with that, this film is a ''call to action''.To those petty little people who might mock its humaneness, I can say that only at sick times like these are must we feel embarrased for being ''over-sentimental''.
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi,who actualy considered himself an authentic(i.e. anti-authoritarian and truly revolutionary in his approach to power and material wealth,unlike so many others)socialist(as well as were also,even though this is always conceiled, M.L.King,Jean Paul Sartre,Federico Garcia Lorca,Albert Camus, and a ''foreign-born agitator'',as one congressman depicted him in a call for his expulsion from the US - Albert Einstein, along with countless others), had another vision for India.The film pays a tribute to this humanistic vision of direct,consistent democracy and human solidarity.It is precisely the continuous dealienation and ''Revolution of Hope''(as goes the title of a wonderful book written by Erich Fromm)that takes place among the lowly of Calcutta.
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City of Joy (Bilingual)
City of Joy (Bilingual) by Roland Joff (DVD - 2004)
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