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The Cloud-Capped Star

Posted by martinteller on September 30, 2011

Returning to my first Ghatak after over 5 years, I was a little worried that it wouldn’t hold up as well as I remembered it.  If anything, it’s even better.  If Satyajit Ray is the virtuoso of Indian cinema, Ghatak is the maverick.  His films aren’t as polished or subtle as Ray’s, but he takes bold chances.  Most blatantly in the sound design, with startling (and often beautiful) use of music, ambient noise, reverb, and effects that are almost sci-fi.  Perhaps only Lynch is as distinctive in the employment of audio techniques.  Not all of Ghatak’s gambles pay off.  Take, for instance, his insistence on casting the goofy Bijon Bhattacharya in most of his films.  Bhattacharya’s performance here isn’t quite as damaging as his turn in The Golden Thread, but it’s easily the weakest aspect of the film.  However, the primary focus is on Nita (Supriya Choudhury), the girl whose family walks all over her, and resent her for it in the process.  As her brother chides her: “You’ll suffer.  Those who suffer, suffer forever.”  The family is a microcosm of Ghatak’s obsession, the damage caused by the Partition, commenting on those who exploit the weak, and those who let themselves be exploited.  It’s high melodrama, but like Sirk, is done so artfully and effectively that it’s a wonder to behold, with breathtaking images, unforgettable moments, and that idiosyncratic audio field.  Rating: Great

IMDb
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One Response to “The Cloud-Capped Star”

  1. […] 43. The Cloud-Capped Star (1960, Ritwik Ghatak) […]

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