Chaitanya Tamhane (pictured at left), whose first full-length film this is, has given us less a satire, I think, than a sadly realistic look at what passes for justice in India today. From the police, who are clearly acting on orders from their superiors (though no higher-ups are named or shown, except perhaps by certain portraits hanging on the wall) to the chief prosecutor to the somewhat lazy and not-very-intelligent judge, it is clear from almost the first that this is a set up and railroaded job.
Vivek Gomber, above). Thanks most likely to the country's heritage of colonialism, decorum, along with way too many outdated laws from that British rule, must be preserved.
Pradeep Joshi, in background, below) refuses to hear one woman's case because she wears a sleeveless dress to court) -- via the public prosecutor (Geetanjali Kulkarni, above), whose main interest is getting this case over with and her career in higher gear.
Mrinal Desai) often use a stationary camera to capture their scenes, as characters move in and out of the frame very effectively. (This also allows for the movie's most violent scene to take place -- charmingly and amusingly -- off-camera.)
Zeitgeist Films -- in several different languages, including English, all with English subtitles -- and running a long but never boring 116 minutes, opens this Wednesday at NYC's Film Forum and next Friday in Chicago and Santa Fe. In the weeks and month to come, it will play another dozen cities throughout the country. For all currently scheduled playdates, cities and theaters, click here and scroll down.
at the 7pm show at Film Forum on opening night,
Wednesday, July 15.