Fleeting Beauty

Directed by Virginia Pitts (2004)

Fleeting Beauty is a lyrical film that provokes us to reconsider the lessons handed down in history textbooks. While it recounts the travel and enterprise of ancient voyagers in search of spices, it describes how these journeys are benchmarks of colonization. In telling this story of exploration and exploitation, Fleeting Beauty does something brave…it reverses the notion that the scars of history are written on a woman’s body. Instead we see an Indian woman rewriting history on a white man’s body. The romantic adventures of male travellers over many centuries come to an ironic finale, when the supine man howls in agony as he hobbles to the bathroom to wash the pepper off his privates.

Fleeting Beauty challenges the idea of the colonial male gaze by denying the man access to the woman’s artwork. But the film is also a meditation on the transitory nature of creation and beauty, permanence and temporality. The woman surrenders her creation to the moment while the man desires to fix it forever!



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