Bengali-born director, poet, and actor Ritwik Ghatak’s career was one of constant struggle—against a public that, per his contemporary Satyajit Ray, “largely ignored” his films; against a society that had lost its way amid rampant modernization; and against a national cinema whose conventions he broke time and again. He only completed eight fiction feature films during his lifetime, but each represents a landmark achievement in the history of Indian cinema, movingly reflecting the social realities of a nation trying to revise its identity in the aftermath of British colonial rule and the partition of India and Pakistan, and representing the melodrama of everyday life under the country’s newly modernized economy. Join Film at Lincoln Center for a retrospective of Ghatak’s work, including recent digital restorations of his epochal films.
Organized by Dan Sullivan, Richard Peña, Moinak Biswas, and Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak. Special thanks to the National Film Archive of India.
New Restoration · Introduction by scholar Udaya Kumar on November 2This soul-shattering classic of Indian cinema combines searing imagery, joltingly expressionistic sound design, and an extraordinary central performance from Supriya Choudhury as a relentlessly self-sacrificing daughter supporting her ungrateful family.
New Restoration · Introduction by Richard Peña on November 2Ghatak’s complex, self-referential drama—about tensions between an experimental theater director and his former collaborators—explores the emotions, spaces, and sounds that serve to “partition” human beings politically, geographically, and aesthetically.
New Restoration · Introductions by Richard Peña on November 1 & 3Ghatak fashions a tender, if at times chilling, story in his second feature, about a taxi driver who struggles to fit into the modern, industrialized world.
New Restoration · Introduction by scholar Moinak Biswas on November 2Ghatak’s extraordinary epitaph, completed in 1974 but not released until after his death, stars the director as a thinly veiled version of himself: Nilkantha, an alcoholic intellectual who, after his beloved wife’s death, takes off for the Bengali countryside and encounters a wide variety of characters there.
New Restoration · Introduction by scholar Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak on November 1One of the first Bangladeshi films, the epic A River Called Titas oscillates between high-pitched melodrama and an almost documentary-like recreation of a riverside culture that has mostly disappeared—the boats, the customs, the rituals—in short, a lost way of life.
New Restoration · Introductions by scholar Moinak Biswas on November 1 & 3Ghatak drew upon details from one of his own youthful adventures for this lighthearted celebration of Kanchan, a kind of Bengali Huckleberry Finn who escapes the oppression of his disciplinarian father for the promise and excitement of Kolkata.
New Restoration · Introduction by scholar Udaya Kumar on November 3Private lives blend seamlessly into national history in the third part of Ghatak’s “Partition Trilogy,” about two siblings scraping by in a refugee camp who take the son of an Untouchable woman into their lives, with tragic results.
Free and open to the public!A symposium on the work of Bengali filmmaker Ritwik Ghatak will be held at Columbia University. This symposium includes such speakers as the Kenyan activist intellectual Ngugi wa Thiong'o, the Swedish investigative journalist and cultural theorist Stefan Jonsson, and film theorists such as Nora Alter and Dudley Andrew.
3+ Film Package – Tickets just $9 Members / $10 Students, Seniors, and Persons with Disabilities / $13 General Public.
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