KOKORO (Kon Ichikawa, 1955)

Drawn from Natsume Soseki’s 1914 novel, Kon Ichikawa’s deeply affecting Kokoro—called The Heart in the U.S., but heart in an expansive sense, including ideas of mind, spirit, love, sexuality—opens (after credits) and closes on the face of Shizu. At the beginning she has just quarreled with her spouse of thirteen years, Nobuchi, whom she (wrongly) […]

CALCUTTA 71 (Mrinal Sen, 1971)

A collection of Calcutta stories spanning nearly forty years, this Bengali film by Mrinal Sen is tedious, schematic and disappointing. Only the first segment, based on Manik Bandyopadhyay’s story “The Right to Suicide,” achieves any sort of distinction. Indeed, the second segment, about the impact of the 1943 famine, seems especially lame, and diffuse, when […]