April 02, 2015

Court (2014)

Court (2014) - Movie Review
Directed by: Chaitanya Tamhane
Country: India

Movie Review: It’s quite impressive how “Court”, a befitting satire on today’s Indian judicial system, has been collecting prizes all over the festivals it participates. Venice, Viennale, Mumbai, Singapore and Hong Kong are only some of them, which recognized the subtle but well-outlined assessment behind the first work of filmmaker Chaitanya Tamhane. The film is a long, cogitative and well-observed exercise centered in an absurd case of prejudice and bureaucracy involving the multiple arrests of the people’s folk singer and poet, Narayan Kamble. Accused of inciting a sewage worker to commit suicide, the fragile singer has no other option than relying on his dedicated lawyer who will have a female public prosecutor as a fierce (and often irritating) opponent. There’s also a somewhat superficial look at the family lives of the ones involved in the case, meaning the two lawyers and the judge, but curiously not the dauntless Kamble who turns out inflammable with a microphone but is becoming weary of the harassments he’s subjected to. This is a courtroom tragicomedy with so many good things – vivid imagery, admirable performances, a strong representation of Indian social status, and witty dialogues; however, on the other hand, it shows some difficulties flowing, especially when the camera lingers too much time on other small court cases, which aim to reinforce the stupidity of the legal system in cause, but deflects the story from its central point. Therefore, some editing would be valuable here. Mr. Tamhane has opted for a formal execution, which sometimes counterpoints with the confrontational jokes that are caustically being thrown in the air. “Court” is worth seeing for its pungent examination and clever observations.

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