Film at Lincoln Center will host ‘Poetry and Partition: The Films of Ritwik Ghatak,’ a near-complete retrospective of the visionary Bengali director, writer, and actor’s career, Nov. 1-6.
According to a Lincoln Center press release, 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 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.
The retrospective presents a full-range of Ghatak’s work, including his emotionally haunting and ambitious masterpiece “The Cloud-Capped Star” (“Meghe Dhaka Tara”), which follows a family of refugees after the partition of India. Additional highlights include Ghatak’s penultimate film, the harrowing epic “A River Called Titas,” (“Titash Ekti Nadir Naam”) as well as his intensely intimate and semi-autobiographical final work, “Reason, Debate and a Tale” (“Jukti Takko Ar Gappo”), starring Ghatak himself as an alcoholic intellectual.
The event includes a symposium – ‘Global Ghatak – on the artist’s work, to be held on Nov. 3 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.
The retrospective begins with “Meghe Dhaka Tara” to be screened on Nov. 2 (5:15 p.m.), Nov. 5 (2:00 p.m.) and Nov. 6 (7:30 p.m.). All screenings take place at the Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center (144 West 65th Street). For all other listings, visit www.filmlinc.org