Bangladeshi Bengali language family drama from 1973.
Starring: Rosy Samad, Farid Ali, Fakrul Hasan Boiragi
Director: Ritwik Ghatak
Writers: Advaita Malla Burman, Ritwik Ghatak
Bechdel test: Pass
A young woman marries a visitor from a nearby village, but on the way to his village she is kidnapped and forgets all details about her husband. Ten years later she remembers the name of her husband’s village and travels there.
The beginning of this story was confusing to me, the young woman got married without any preamble, and there was nothing leading up to the wedding. We saw the bridegroom talking with his friend, and through the conversation we learn that he is clearly single and has no particular plans for marriage. Then some people talk about fetching him, and then; a wedding.
After that the story moves from one scene to the next without anything that seems like a hole in the story.
Most of the movie is set after the young bride comes to her mystery husbands fishing village, and we follow many of the people she gets to know there. The story moves from one family and gives a look at their problems, to the next family or person. No one is the sole focus of the story and we see many heart breaking and touching little episodes, all made difficult by the extreme poverty in the village.
A large driving force in everyone’s life is food. They all live from hand to mouth and the river, Titas, where they fish is their source of food, and a little income when they have something to sell. “A river called Titas” shows the choices and struggles made necessary by having little or nothing, and the destruction of village society. A new time is ushered in with no place for village people.
The movie paints what I think is a stark and realistic look at poverty, but not really having experienced a lack of anything, I have had to rely on other’s evaluation of that aspect of the movie.
The stories are touching and even if we don’t get to know all the characters equally well, we do come to care for them. I think the writer of this movie, and the others behind it, must have known the region well and cared for it’s people.
The technical aspects of “A river called Titas” is surprisingly good, and the camerawork can rival many modern high budget movies. Some parts of the film seemed to be overexposed or something like that, but that could be age damage. The only strange thing was a long close up of people’s faces when they had a dramatic moment.
The Bechdel test was not performed for “A river called Titas” on the Bechdel test site, but I think it passes the test. An example of a scene that has two named female characters talking about something other than men, is near the end where Basanti and another woman discuss the past and their fights as youngsters. (For more about the Bechdel test, read my post about women in movies.)
I liked most of the movie, the beginning was as mentioned somewhat strange, but the rest was a hard look at poverty and how privileged I am. That is not something I wish to do often, but being a little shaken out of my bubble is good for the soul. I am glad I watched “A river called Titas”, but it will be a while til I watch it again.
“A river called Titas” can be watched by anyone as a look at poverty and touching stories, but it is not light entertainment. For an evening where a few good jokes does not seem enough, this is a movie I can recommend.
Over to you
If you’ve recently seen “A river called Titas” or you’re watching along with my year of movies, please leave a comment below with your thoughts on the movie or note down your opinion somewhere else.
44 movies down. 321 to go.
If you want to get “A river called Titas” from Amazon, here is a link for that. They might have the movie other places too.
Tomorrow’s movie is “Manila in the claws of light”. Get some more information about this movie and the other movies on my watch list this week on the upcoming movies page. If you’re new to this site and are wondering why I’m watching a movie every day for a year, read more about my experiment.
Until next time; live long and prosper.