The Filmmakers

Deconstructing Deepa: A deep dive into her Oscar-nominated 'Water'

The panel on this weekend's episode of The Filmmakers looks back at Mehta's contemporary classic.

The panel on this weekend's episode of The Filmmakers looks back at Mehta's contemporary classic

Radheyan Simonpillai, Johanna Schneller, Brian D. Johnson and Rakhi Mutta talk about 'Water' on The Filmmakers. 6:08

In the early 1990s, filmmaker Deepa Mehta began what would become a decade of work creating a trilogy of films that brilliantly dealt with social issues in India.

First she gave us Fire, a story of same-sex love. Then came Earth, which looked at the religious strife that came with the partition of India in the 1940s. Both of the films were shot in India but were so controversial that the next film, Water, almost never happened. When filming was supposed to begin in 2000, protesters did what they could to stop it. It wasn't until six years later, after moving the shoot to Sri Lanka and filming under a secret title, that Mehta was finally able to give us the final chapter in her trilogy.

From left: Radheyan Simonpillai, Johanna Schneller, Brian D. Johnson and Rakhi Mutta on The Filmmakers. (CBC Arts)

Water was finally released in 2005 to critical acclaim and an Oscar nomination for best foreign language film, and this weekend, it's the subject of the latest episode of The Filmmakers. In addition to an interview with Mehta herself, the episode features a panel — posted in its entirety in the above video — with filmmaker Rakhi Mutta and film critics Radheyan Simonpillai and Brian D. Johnson that delves into what made Water such an important moment in both Mehta's career, and in the history of Canadian filmmaking.

Watch Deepa Mehta on The Filmmakers this Saturday at 10:00 p.m. (10:30 NT) on CBC Television, or stream it at cbc.ca/watch. After the episode, stick around to see this week's feature presentation, her 2005 film Water.

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