Agnes is slowly wasting away in the smog and pollution of the City. Her lungs are giving up, and in order to save her, her mother Bea accepts a chance to enter the Wilderness State, the last swath of protected land away from the City. A group of twenty people will live there as hunter gatherers, in a last attempt to prove that men can live with nature without destroying it. But while Agnes gets better and becomes a wild child, Bea longs for the comforts of the City and their previous life. Living in the Wilderness State is hard, the Rangers seem to have fun pushing them around and making sure they don’t stay too long in any given place, and still expect them to fill out their paperwork diligently and without complaint. When the Administration changes, though, a feeling of uncertainty enters the group. Will they be allowed to stay, or forced to leave?
I would be lying if I said my mother’s misery has never given me pleasure.
Girl in White Cotton (or Burnt Sugar, if you prefer) is the story of Antara and her mother who has Alzheimer. They’ve always had a strained relationship, but now that her mother’s grasp on reality is slipping, Antara starts reliving her past, searching for that thread that would allow her to take care of her mother without reservations.
We follow her during her childhood in Pune, first in a guru’s community, then in a catholic boarding school, and after that during her years in Bombay, and a picture starts emerging from the memories: her mother who is both absent and judging, too proud but also mean and spiteful. And as we watch Antara in her daily life in the present, we start to wonder together with her – if she’s really so much different from her mother, after all.