Sunday, February 08, 2009

To learn to read is to light a fire; every syllable that is spelled out is a spark.

Is life worth going through the pain of a relationship which affects us so deeply that it changes our life forever or is it best left forgotten as time goes by?

If the latter is true, we wouldn’t have the story of ‘The Reader’. A young boy, Michael, has a brief affair with an older woman, Hannah. This takes places in the Germany of the ‘50s. Besides the obvious sexual emancipation of Michael, Hannah takes immense pleasure in Michael reading aloud to her during these trysts.

Hannah makes no pretense of the fact that they could never have a future and one fine day, Michael finds her gone. Decades later, as a law student Michael comes across a case where Hannah is accused of being the prison guard of a Nazi camp and not allowing the prisoners to escape when there is a fire. Hannah is the same old stoic woman, who knows no other world other than her duty as a prison guard and is so ashamed of her secret of being illiterate that she accepts prosecution to admitting it.
Michael, who has been deeply affected by his relationship with her, watches the proceeds of case agitated and is guilty of not helping.
The last part of the story deals with Hannah spending her old age in prison listening to audio books sent by Michael and learning how to read and write.

And if you are thinking Kate Winslet of Titanic fame, you must watch this movie to see her acting prowess and of course her every curve!

My mind is flooded with numerous questions even as I was absorbing this poignant tale – are we ashamed to admit our misdemeanors even if it means losing sleep? Are people affected by their insecurities so much that they would rather prefer prosecution? Can we redeem ourselves of the crimes we commit under the pretext of our duties?