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PREVIOUSLY PLAYED

COURT

1:003:457:009:30

Through Tuesday, July 28

WRITTEN AND DIRECTED BY CHAITANYA TAMHANE

Winner of top prizes at the Venice and Mumbai Film Festivals. COURT’s understated yet profoundly moving drama unfolds within the Indian legal system where issues of caste, patriarchy and feudalism are all specific to that culture. But at least as important are the more universal issues of bureaucratic idiocy, the apathy of the haves regarding the lives of the have-nots, and the still-Dickensian nature of most judicial processes. The film’s director writes about the reality that inspired him: “The sheer lack of drama and the casualness with which life and death decisions were being made, was what sparked my imagination. Every face has a story of its own: the stenographer who disinterestedly types away all day, the peon who runs errands for a small bribe, the inarticulate lawyers reading out long, technical passages from outdated law books, the appellants who have probably spent years waiting for their case number to be called out.” 

INDIA • 2014 • 116 MINS. • IN MARATHI, HINDI, ENGLISH AND GUJARATI WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES • ZEITGEIST FILMS

Reviews

WINNER!
India’s National Film Award, 2015

“Astonishing. Beautifully composed in crisp and consistent wide-screen images.  ‘The people’s poet’ (is) played by the magnificent nonprofessional Vira Sathidar. With a poise that’s rare in directors making their first feature, Tamhane delivers both a deadpan satire of a rotten legal system and a nuanced portrayal of the people who inhabit it.”
- Stuart Klawans, The Nation

“Excellent. Remarkably, COURT is the first feature written and directed by Chaitanya Tamhane, who at 28 possesses the formal assurance of a filmmaker with plenty of experience.”
– Mike D’Angelo, AV Club / The Onion

“A masterpiece, one of the best films of the year. The acting elevates the words on the page and makes them sing. In the funniest scene in this surprisingly funny film, the Judge refuses to hear a case because the defendant, a woman, is wearing a sleeveless top. COURT ends up being a great courtroom drama. It treats the audience as both witness and jury and lays out a sprawling argument for them to ponder. It’s hard to shake this one off long after the credits have rolled.”
– Laya Maheshwari, rogerebert.com

“A super naturalistic study in class, bureaucracy, and censorial stupidity. The trial is fascinating… But COURT proves most illuminating when Tamhane contrasts public and private lives. COURT is one of the strongest debut features in years.”
– Alan Scherstuhl, Village Voice