Louis Malle’s Palme d’Or-nominated ‘Calcutta’ is a powerful account of life in one of India’s most populous cities.
During his stay in India, Louis Malle spent three weeks in Calcutta. Rather than make the city one chapter in his immense documentary ‘Phantom India’, he saw a companion film, one that would have the space to fully explore life in the teeming city. At times shocking, as it explores the social and political turmoil that simmered there in the late 1960s, Malle’s film leaves behind the more lyrical pacing of ‘Phantom India’ for a driving narrative. It is critical of the establishment, who hold on to tradition while people starve on the streets. Very much a film that reflects the time it was made in, this is a richly rewarding portrait of a city on the brink of collapse.