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Synopsis A hangman in a southern Indian village who has spent his life carrying out politically motivated executions is now old and so wracked with guilt that he takes to heavy drinking and praying to the goddess Kali to forgive his sins. Veteran director Adoor Gopalakrishnan sets the film in 1941, the violent cusp of Indian independence, pitting Gandhian principles against the harsher traditions of punishment and retribution. The subtly nuanced performances bring the ever-present questions to bear on today's political debate.
About the director One of the leading lights of the New Indian Cinema, Adoor Gopalakrishnan was born in 1941. He started acting on the amateur stage at the age of eight, and, as a student, wrote and directed over twenty plays. After graduating in Political Science and Economics, he joined the Film Institute in Pune in 1962. Equipped with formal training in Script Writing and Direction, he went on to write and direct nine feature films and more than two dozen shorts and documentaries. His first film, Swayamvaram won the national awards for Best Film, Best Director, Best Photography, and Best Actress, setting a record of sorts. His film, Kathapurushan also won him the national award for the Best Feature Film in all Indian languages. He has won the national award for Best Director four times, and Best Scriptwriter three times. His films have been shown in Cannes, Berlin, Venice, Rotterdam, and Toronto, and festivals around the world. Adoor's third feature, Elippathayam won him the coveted British Film Institute Award for the most original and imaginative film of 1982. The International Film Critics Prize (FIPRESCI) has gone to him five times successively for Mukhamukham, Anantaram, Mathilukal, Vidheyan and Kathapurushan.
Available Screening Formats 35mm, DVD. Digibeta available upon request
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Featured in the Global Lens 2004 film series.