Two visually striking films set in epic landscapes hit the big screen this spring. Don't Come Knocking (March) opens with a classic shot of an aging movie star (Sam Shepard, who also co-wrote the screenplay) riding through the Utah desert. Director Wim Wenders's offbeat meditation on the myth of the American West isn't all postcard images, however. The hero's journey affirms the end of the frontier days—Nevada is awash in casino neon, the streets in the mining town of Butte, Montana, lie vacant—as well as the enduring mystery of the region's wide-open spaces. Meanwhile, the Ganges is the central character in Deepa Mehta's Water (April 28), a Hindi-language drama set in 1930's India. The sacred waterway cleanses sin, claims the dead, and symbolizes the political change springing from Mahatma Gandhi's rise to power, while a group of widows fights a tradition that binds them to live as outcasts. The river is also the setting for a midnight tryst in the tangerine glow of prayer candles.
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