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aka World Within, World Without 1991 105’ col Bengali d/sc Mrinal Sen pc G.G. Films st Anjan Dutt c Shashi Anand m B.V. Karanth, Chandan Roy Choudhury lp Victor Bannerjee, Soumitra Chatterjee, Anjan Dutt, Aparna Sen, Geeta Sen, Anasuya Majumdar

With this film Sen returned to his most congenial setting, Calcutta, and to one of his favourite plot formulas: the sudden disappearance of a family member causes the others to reflect on themselves and their lives. Here Sen considers the lives of a Bengali middle-class family against the background of ‘the new world order’ with the defeat of the USSR in the cold war and the unification of Germany. When the elderly mother (G. Sen) of a Calcutta family hangs herself, her husband (S. Chatterjee), her youngest son (Dutta), her mentally unbalanced daughter (Majumdar) and her widowed daughter-in-law (A.Sen) are distraught but do not have the courage to read the old woman’s diary. When the eldest son (Bannerjee) returns from Germany, his anxious questioning brings to light the disorientation experienced by the family and the way world history penetrates into the fabric of individual lives. In the end the daughter, with silent anger and resentment, burns the mother’s diary, unread.