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Directed by Satyajit Ray

India 1965 117 mins.

The personal favorite film of famed Bengali director Satyajit Ray (The Apu Trilogy), Charulata tells the story of the titular lonely housewife of an affluent Bengali family. While her husband spends his days toiling at his beloved newspaper, Charulata paces the confines of her mansion like a caged bird, dreaming of becoming a writer and breaking free of her restrictive life. The catalyst for rebellion arrives in the form of her husband’s handsome cousin, who inspires her to both pick up a pen and fall in love. The simple tale is sensitively rendered through Madhabi Mukherjee’s inspired portrayal of Charulata, which offers glimpses of the hidden fires burning beneath her seemingly restrained demeanor. With this exquisitely shot, deeply felt film, “Ray effortlessly transcends categorization; words like ‘realist’, ‘humanist’ and ‘miniaturist’ fall pitifully short of describing what he was capable of.”—British Film Institute.

Rights provided by Janus Films, screened on Blu-Ray.

Series Program Notes

Extensive analysis of CHARULATA on Criterion