If Phase IV marks out the limits of animal identification, Roberto Rossellini’s India: Matri Bhumi (1959) shrugs off any limits at all, showing glorious disdain for the standard boundaries separating human and animal, documentary and fiction, and observer and the observed.
India can be regarded as the summation of Rossellini’s richest period — his crowning masterpiece that synthesizes many of the discoveries and investigations of his earlier masterpieces... It’s remained one of the hardest to see of Rossellini’s major works, in part because of the complex and chaotic conditions under which it was made and initially received.
INDIA runs counter to all normal cinema: the image merely complements the idea which provokes it. India is a film of absolute logic, more Socratic than Socrates. Each image is beautiful, not because it is beautiful in itself, like a shot from Que Viva Mexico!, but because it has the splendour of the true, and Rossellini starts from truth.