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SHADOW KILL

India, 2002 (MIFF 2003, Beyond Bollywood)

Director: Adoor Gopalakrishnan

Kaliyappan is an executioner in southern India, whose job provides adequate financial reward but is destroying his conscience. Presiding over the hanging of someone whom he is certain is innocent, Kaliyappan's guilt is quite literally killing him. Alienated from his family, he turns to drink to remove himself from reality. As another execution looms, he and his friends sit down for a traditional drink the night before the killing, and one of them recounts a tragic story of the rape and murder of a young girl. In a drunken haze, Kaliyappan imagines his own daughter as the young girl and the lines between fact and fiction become increasingly blurred for the hangman.

Examining with intelligence and insight such issues as free will and the corrupt, unjust nature of the society in which one serves, this explosive film is at the forefront of new Indian cinema.

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