PADATIK (Mrinal Sen, 1973)
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PADATIK (aka THE FOOT SOLDIER)
dir. Mrinal Sen, 1973
India, 91 min.
In Hindi/Bengali with English subtitles.
MONDAY MARCH 4 – 7:30 PM
FRIDAY MARCH 15 – 7:30 PM (Q AND A with writer UDAYAN GUPTA)
MONDAY MARCH 25 – 7:30 PM
SUNDAY MARCH 31 – 7:30 PM
PADATIK is the last film in Mrinal Sen’s triptych of Calcutta films, which includes INTERVIEW and CALCUTTA ’71. This film largely takes place within a young woman’s apartment, where a young revolutionary hides from the authorities. Sumit has taken part in a high-profile action and was lucky to escape capture. He spends his days in Shila’s flat reflecting on his own philosophical turmoil, suspicions within the party, and a difficult relationship with his father. Shila (Simi Garewal) works a day job in advertising but also a side project where she interviews local woman on gender inequality. PADATIK balances the tension of the domestic hideout with playful new-wave film gestures, assuring that life is full of beautiful distractions.
One can assume Sumit is a Naxalite, a catchall term used at the time by authorities to describe all revolutionary guerrillas and left-wingers. An armed revolt of landless peasants and urban bombings of state offices in the late ‘60s lead to a massive crackdown against supposed agitators. By the early ‘70s, 2,600 people were detained, and many more were murdered in the countryside. Some took to hiding, as is the case in PADATIK. This film shows the complexity of party engagement, struggles with defeatism, and the strain put on family and relationships.
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