Screened as part of NZIFF 2015
On trial: an elderly poet and singer of protest songs charged with inciting suicide. Antiquated features of the Indian legal system are enlisted to silence dissent in this richly detailed and provocative court drama. A prize-winner in Mumbai and Venice, Chaitanya Tamhane’s film has been widely admired, not least for taking time to understand the individual lives and motivations of the key players entrammelled by the laborious machinations of the law.
“The story is simultaneously hilarious for its ridiculousness and tragic as a result of its unfairness. As we watch the infuriating trial unfold over months, Tamhane uses the down time to examine the intimate lives of those involved. The defense lawyer’s family just wants him to settle down. The female prosecutor is respected in her professional career, but still cooks dinner and follows orders from her husband and children. The film explores caste system prejudice in a grander sense, while also telling a riveting tale of a singular victim whose life may never rise above his status.” — Casey Cipriani, Indiewire