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Monday, November 18, 2013

A River Called Titas (`973) d. Ritwik Ghatak

A River Called Titas d. Ritwik Ghatak

Movie Review
A River Called Titas/
Titash Ekti Nadir Naam 1973
d. Ritwik Ghatak
Criterion Collection/World Cinema edition released December 10th, 2013
   There are certain existential questions that confront you when you spend two and a half hours watching a 1973 Bengladeshi film about the decline and fall of a fishing village- located on the river called Titas.  A River Called Titas is an epic, multi-generational affair, shot in black and white and of course, with subtitles from the Bengali.  On the spectrum of "Watchability" that I often use to evaluate various different Criterion Collection titles, A River Called Titas is at the near bottom.  It is really, really tedious.  However, on the "historical merit" spectrum A River Called Titas comes in high.  First, it's Bengladeshi and how many Bengladeshi films have you seen?  Zero?

  Second, director Ritwik Ghatak is an important figure in Indian Cinema, and how many Ritwik Ghatak films have you seen? Zero?  So there are reasons to watch A River Called Titas but that it does not make it fun.  Also, and maybe this is just me not getting some of the nuances but people are really mean in this film- to one another- to children- it's brutal.  I'm not sure what's up with that but it was not a flattering picture of the "simple village fisher folk,"

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