Court. 2014. India. Directed by Chaitanya Tamhane. In Marathi, Hindi, Gujarati, English; English subtitles. 116 min.
A sewage manhole worker with a history of job-related ailments is dead, and an elderly social activist/protest singer is subsequently put on trial for inciting suicide. Calling it a “complete subversion of courtroom drama,” director Chaitanya Tamhane cleverly uses long, static takes to bear unblinking witness to labyrinthine courtroom procedures, antiquated legal practices, and the all-around disregard for the justice system’s urgency and weight. Tragically comical, this debut feature premiered at the Venice International Film Festival, where it won the top prize in the Orizzonti (Horizons) section.