Screened as part of NZIFF 2003
This alarming tale of a bright (as opposed to naughty) young girl about to be sold into marriage to a wealthy older man evokes a starkly black and white moral scheme, but the direction is so irresistibly cinematic and the cast are so palpably human in their emblematic roles that the effect is fresh and potent. Directed and written by Buddhadeb Dasgupta (The Wrestlers), the film pulls us into its village setting with an extraordinarily sensual sense of three-dimensional space.
“With a finely honed poetic sensibility, Buddhadeb Dasgupta again weaves a gripping, colorful tapestry out of the lives of the socially marginalized. In the mystical landscapes of the Purulia district of West Bengal, the precocious young Lati is caught between the push of tradition and the pull of the promise of a new life. Her aging prostitute mother is trying to sell her to a lecherous movie-theatre owner, who will serve as patron to both women. But having tasted the fruits of education, Lati is yearning for the world beyond her village. Indian director Buddhadeb Dasgupta may be without equal in crafting lyrical stories about the forces that threaten to destroy innocence. Though the film is set in 1969, just as man is about to walk on the moon, Dasgupta has fashioned a timeless and almost flawless tale that speaks to women and men everywhere.” — Mark Peranson