"Charulata (The Lonely
Directed by Satyajit Ray
Ray considered this
film, structured like a musical rondo, to be his best work. Set in 1879
during the social reform movement in Calcutta, it tells of Charulata (Madhabi
Mukherjee, in an exquisitely graceful performance), the bored and
neglected upper-class wife of the reformer Bhupati Dutta (Sailen Mukherjee).
Wrapped up in the politics of the times, Bhupati is oblivious to his
wife's lonelines. When his young cousin Amal (Soumitra Chatterji) arrives,
Bhupati hopes that he will encourage Charulata in her reading of
literature; instead, she falls in love with the young man. "Gets nearer to
the heart of the 'woman's dilemma' than films which see the problem in
terms of career possibilities. In so doing, [Ray] has made a film that is
extraordinarily contemporary" (Molly Haskell). Bengali
with English subtitles. 124 minutes.