Charulata (1964)

SATYAJIT RAY

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 .  Cinematography by .  Produced by . Music by Satyajit Ray.  Production Design by .  Film Editing by .

Reuniting with , 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

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