Cinema Arlecchino > 14:30


Adoor Gopalakrishnan


Tuesday 27/07/2021


Original version with subtitles



Film Notes

Why is it that we do not respond to things around us naturally? The question bothered me for a very long time. When I arrived at the answer, it seemed to be simple: if we started responding to issues around us it would cause inconveniences both minor and major. So, in an evasive gesture we make ourselves believe that there is no pressing issue. This amounts, essentially, to a negation of our being expressed in acting and reacting; through a process of seeing, hearing, feeling, sharing and responding.
The story of Elippathyam is built around the middle-aged head of a matrilineal family, Unni (Karamana Nair) who lives in the post-feudal era. He has inherited all the vestiges of a feudal past but is not supported by the wealth associated with it. Unni shies away from the natural instincts of living and resists the opportunity to attune himself to a fast-changing world. His relationship within the small family, consisting of three sisters, is also marked by an absence of give and take. As is often the case with such self-centred creatures who are weak-willed, with generations of ease and plenty behind them, Unni suffers from schizophrenic nervousness and indecision.
With Elippathyam I tried to take a close and cruel look at the interior of an attitude, a state of mind. While the film is about change, it is a change that is painful and inevitable. Moreover, the resistance to change is desperate since the victim is helpless and weak. The story is so structured as to unfold in a series of departures (symbolised by the rats and humans departing from the old house), from a condition of entrapment to one of liberation. Of all the films I have directed, Elippathyam is the closest to me. It is not only because the film, set in a remote village in Kerala, reflects faithfully my own economic and social background, but also because the characters portrayed here are modelled after those I have known intimately.
                                                                                                                                                              Adoor Gopalakrishnan

Cast and Credits