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India, 1960 (MIFF 1995, Buried Treasures - Ritwick Ghatak)

Director: Ritwik Ghatak

Unanimously considered Ghatak's master­piece The Cloud-Capped Star, full of deeply-felt passion and an amazing music/sound track, is the first of three films on the director's very per­sonal interest in the theme of refugees Ghatak made films that are almost all veiled autobiogra­phy, the dispossessed orphaned homeless and disorientated find a voice In his work.

Neeta, who embodies acceptance, consolation and selflessness is the eldest daughter and sole provider for a refugee family struggling for exis­tence in post-partition Calcutta of the Iate 1950s. Independence and a decade of famine have cre­ated a living environment that is almost beyond endurance. While the family's eldest son pursues the seemingly unrealistic goal of becoming a singer Neeta sacrifices her life's desires for their survival. Initially embracing her fate with a kind of voluptuous self-abnegation, she recognises the futility of her sacrifice too late. No longer pos­sessing the strength to reorient her life, Neeta has literally been consumed.

Ghatak's The Cloud-Capped Star deliberately dri­ves melodrama to its heightened dramatic extreme. His profound sense of the need for a radically changed society, for a total transforma­tion that cannot be achieved merely at a person­al or domestic level finds its stylistic expression in his emphatic use of close-ups, his dislocated unconventional editing and his unique use of exaggerated sound effects. A powerful and sear­ing epic of struggle and hope.

See also...

The Weavers

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I Am Famous

A powerful and moving film from India. Through stunning land and cityscapes a little girl wanders, strangely alone. Minnu tells us that she's famous, and she is, but the reason for this, when finally ... More »


"HEYYY!" she would belt out her trademark cry, and briskly proceed to whip men, toss them over her shoulders, and punch them in their collective solar plexuses. She would swing from chandeliers ... More »

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