Version 1 (modified by salomex, 11 years ago) (diff)



aka The Ascent 1977 137’(118’) b&w Malayalam d/s Adoor Gopalakrishnan p Kulathoor Bhaskaran Nair pc Chitralekha Film Co-op c Ravi Varma lp Gopi, Lalitha, Aziz, Thikkurisi Sukumaran Nair, Adoor Bhawani, Kaviyoor Ponnamma, Vilasini, Susheela, Radhamani

Gopalakrishnan’s 2nd and to many his best feature, made five years after Swayamvaram, tells of the growth to adulthood of a wide-eyed village simpleton, Sankarankutty (an admirable performance by Gopi). Affectionately treated as a fool, the man begins to come to terms with real human relationships through an encounter with a truck driver prone to most human weaknesses. Sankarankutty begins to accept that a wife (Lalitha), or indeed any woman, should not be regarded solely as a provider of food and comforts. The most tragic figure in the story is the lonely widow Kamalamma (Ponnamma) who mothers the central character but whose life is ruined by various exploitative relationships, and she ends up by committing suicide. The film has an innovative soundtrack, esp. with Kathakali drums, and unfolds at the slow, rhythmical pace of a village festival which provides the opening imagery of the tale. The main character’s maturation can be seen as a parallel to social and historical changes in Kerala: the erosion of a matriarchal system and the rise of a competitive world conventionally coded as masculine, the impact of technology and so on. Blending realism and lyricism, the film achieved both artistic and commercial success.