The movie “Before the Rains” could be used as an example to illustrate the main points of Frederick Engels’ “Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State.” Set in 1930s India during the uprising of Indian nationalists, the film shows the effects of capital on love and human relationships. The bottom line is that people who love money, particularly capital, cannot love people.
The main character is an Indian assistant of a British spice trader. The assistant seeks to protect his master, for which he receives meager wages and benefits. He lives in slave-like quarters on a plantation while his master dines on fine cuisine and wine in the main plantation house.
One of the most poignant moments in the film came when the British master asked his assistant if the workers in the village were calm because the complacency of the workers is of utmost importance to the capitalist.
The British master had embarked on a plan to build a road up a mountain in order to harvest the valuable spices of India. He needed the full support of the native Indian tribes to make this happen. The affair, once discovered, results in the destruction of her life. He sends her away to save his reputation and to save her from the wrath of her tribe. She returns, however, and, rather than live as an outcast, kills herself.
The movie clearly illustrates that under capitalism, and particularly imperialism, love takes a distant second place to profits and when love threatens capital accumulation, love becomes expedient.
Buried in the wonderful imagery of the film, which depicts the amazing Indian countryside, was the fact that labor resulted in improvements to the infrastructure of the community. When the imperialists were expelled, the road endured and the people benefited from their labor. The message seems to be that although the people suffer tremendously during capitalist expansion, they gain the tools and resources to unite and overtake their oppressors.