New Internationalist

The Warrior

May 2002

directed by Asif Kapadia

In the Rajasthan desert light, the mounted warriors are magnificent. Their costumes and weapons, their long jet-black locks, even their flesh tones, glow in the pellucid light. Lafcadia, their leader, is skilled, noble, self-possessed — everything his son Katiba wants to be. He’s also a stern and careful father who’s bringing up Katiba alone. When the warriors ride off, Katiba has to stay.

These opening moments suggest a western — these are the good guys, on a noble quest. The visual style, the focus on the human face, the lack of dialogue, suggests Sergio Leone. However, as we soon realize, this is no spaghetti eastern.

The feudal lord is collecting taxes — the warriors are his enforcers. When an elder claims his village cannot pay, Lafcadia promptly decapitates him. Yet later, when razing the village, his sword drawn to a young girl’s throat, he drops his weapon. He leaves and his vow — never to kill again — offends his master. No-one, simply no-one, leaves the lord’s service. The lord demands Lafcadia’s head. Instead he gets the head of Katiba, the warrior’s son.

What follows is subtle, interesting and resonant. Lafcadia embarks on a quest that is spiritual rather than vengeful. He needs to come to terms with his past life and his grief. His experience, even as he treks into the remote Himalayas, is internal and contemplative, and Kapadia’s close-ups are more akin to Bergman than Leone.

The almost entirely non-professional cast, with life experience etched on each face, is superb, and the attention to detail — scuttling scorpions, padding camels’ feet — is beautiful. The Warrior is an accomplished, innovative and bravura début.

Malcolm Lewis

Front cover of New Internationalist magazine, issue 345 This column was published in the May 2002 issue of New Internationalist. To read more, buy this issue or subscribe.

Never miss another story! Get our FREE fortnightly eNews

Comments on The Warrior

Leave your comment


  • Maximum characters allowed: 5000
  • Simple HTML allowed: bold, italic, and links

Registration is quick and easy. Plus you won’t have to re-type the blurry words to comment!
Register | Login

...And all is quiet.

Subscribe to Comments for this articleArticle Comment Feed RSS 2.0

Guidelines: Please be respectful of others when posting your reply.

The Warrior Fact File
Star rating4

Get our free fortnightly eNews


Videos from visionOntv’s globalviews channel.

Related articles

Recently in Film

All Film

Popular tags

All tags

This article was originally published in issue 345

New Internationalist Magazine issue 345
Issue 345

More articles from this issue

New Internationalist Magazine Issue 436

If you would like to know something about what's actually going on, rather than what people would like you to think was going on, then read the New Internationalist.

– Emma Thompson –

A subscription to suit you

Save money with a digital subscription. Give a gift subscription that will last all year. Or get yourself a free trial to New Internationalist. See our choice of offers.