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In his third feature writer/director Adoor Gopalakrishan has established a stylised study of paranoia.

An indolent, selfish landowner expects his family to wait on him hand and foot. When he has to face a changing future, he is unable to cope and feels trapped like the rats his younger sister catches in a cage.

Using only a minimum of dialogue, Gopalakrishnan builds a structure of closely interlinked images with extreme concentration on details, giving the narrative a slow, dream-like progress.