CFS courts “Lonely Wife”

Danielle LaMonaca

Satyajit Ray’s period piece “Charulata (The Lonely Wife)” takes place in Calcutta around 1880 during the Victorian era when the British were still in power. This interesting movie about denial, innocent love, lust and betrayal is considered the masterpiece of Ray, one of India’s most famous directors.

The title character is a lonely woman, who, while married, is childless and longs for intellectual stimulation, which her husband, Bhupati, does not provide. Bhupati’s time is constantly consumed by working for Calcutta’s political newspaper, The Sentinel. Although Bhupati loves Charulata, she feels like a prisoner inside her own house and spends all of her time reading Bengali novels and embroidering hankies.

Bhupati senses Charulata’s frustration, so he calls upon his cousin Amal to come stay with his wife and keep her company. Amal, like Charulata, has a love for art and literature, and their mutual interests bring them closer together. The inevitable happens, and the two fall in love, although they conceal their emotions from one another.

Ray’s unique style of direction focuses largely on the characters. There are few fancy visual effects or surprising scenes; instead Ray relies on minimal dialogue and simplistic camera angles. The element that Ray chiefly focuses on is cinematography. The audience can easily tell how and what each character is feeling and experiencing through Ray’s ability to express emotion with little discourse. Since there is little dialogue, the narrative is also furthered through Ray’s original musical score.

Ray considered “Charulata” to be one of his most prized films. In 1964, film critics and the audiences agreed with the Indian director and praised the film as being an artistic and moving love story. If you are interested in watching a deep and romantic story about two individuals who connect on an intellectual level, then you must see “Charulata.”

“Charulata” is the third film in the current Cultural Film and Lecture Studies, “Isn’t It Romantic?” It will be shown four times in the Connelly Center Cinema: Saturday at 7 p.m., Sunday at 3:30 and 7 p.m., and Monday at 7 p.m.. Admission is $3.50 for students who bring their I.D. and $5 for all others. The film will be shown in its original language, Bengali, with English subtitles. Guest speaker Sameena Usmani, will be leading a discussion on Monday night only. She will introduce “Charulata” before the screening and lead the discussion after the film.

For more information on “Charulata” or any of the other films playing this semester call X9-4750 on weekdays between 9 p.m. and 5 p.m., or refer to the CFS web site.