Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.5.
Alternate title: The Lonely Wife
India, 1964. R.D.Banshal & Co.. Screenplay by Satyajit Ray, based on the story Nastaneer by Rabindranath Tagore. Cinematography by Subrata Mitra. Produced by R.D. Bansal. Music by Satyajit Ray. Production Design by Bansi Chandragupta. Film Editing by Dulal Dutta.
Reuniting with Madhabi Mukherjee, the star of his masterful The Big City, Satyajit Ray details the story of a happily married, wealthy woman whose intellectual husband encourages her abilities as a writer. She lazily spends days playing cards but also enjoys devouring her household’s library of books, none of it really making an impression until her husband’s cousin comes for a visit and their shared passion for literature lights a flame in her. Charulata falls deeply in love with her guest, but as indulgence in this feeling is impossible, she channels it into her work instead, the results having a complex effect on her marriage and her awareness of her own self. Typically, Ray finds beauty in every shot but, with the aid of Mukherjee’s intelligent eyes and a deeply sensitive screenplay, provides just as much effect with the subtle intricacies of human interaction as he does the camera’s aesthetic powers.
The Criterion Collection: #669