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"He had only one thing on his mind... but so did she!"

Holy Smoke is a 1999 Miramax drama starring Kate Winslet and Harvey Keitel. Jane Campion directed the film, which was mostly shot in India and Australia. The film follows young Australian woman Ruth Barron to India. While there she meets a guru named Baba (Dhritiman Chaterji). Slowly she falls under the influence of Baba's teachings. Her suburban Australian parents, Miriam (Julie Hamilton) and Gilbert (Tim Robertson) are less than pleased with their daughter's allegiance to Baba.

Miriam travels to India, where she finds a sari-wearing Ruth who calls herself Nazni. Miriam tells Ruth that her father, Gilbert, has suffered a stroke and begs Ruth to return to Australia. Ruth refuses. After Miriam has an asthma attack Ruth agrees to fly home with her mother.

Back in Australia, Ruth is told Gilbert is recovering in the Outback. However, Gilbert hasn't had a stroke. It's a ploy to deliver Ruth to a cult deprogrammer, P.J. Waters (Harvey Keitel). Waters isolates Ruth in a cabin and takes away the trappings of her ties to Baba, like her saris. As he breaks down Ruth's devotion to Baba, Waters finds himself attracted to her and the film becomes a battle of wits with Ruth using her youthful sexuality and Keitel his authority as a deprogrammer.

Although the film brought together critically acclaimed actors, an award winning director, and Miramax (which produced many Oscar winners in the late 1990s) the critical reaction to Holy Smoke! was mixed. Dion Beebe's cinematography was lauded for its beautiful use of light. Response to the text of the film centered around the fact it feels muddled, veering from the familiar young woman finds herself through travel plot into a psychosexual drama between Winslet and Keitel.

The film received no major awards or nominations. It did win the Elvira Notari prize at the Venice Film Festival, where it premiered.

R
| 1999 | 1 hr 55 min | 5.9/10 | 57/100
Cast
Kate Winslet, Harvey Keitel, Julie Hamilton, Sophie Lee
Studio
Miramax Films
Director
Jane Campion
Language
English
Ad
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Trailer|1:51
Trailer|1:51

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