Interior Landscapes

Film Daisy Rockwell over at Bookslut:

A bored young woman walks from room to room in her beautiful house. She sprawls on her bed and leafs through a novel, then wanders to the living room and looks through the bookcases for a new book. Suddenly she hears an interesting sound. She rushes to the windows and peers through the slats in the dark shutters. She sees a performer with a monkey, then some men carrying a palanquin, then a foolish man waddling along with an umbrella. Excited, she moves from shutter to shutter to peer through as these characters cross back and forth through her line of vision. She fetches a lorgnette, so she can see them better. When all disappear from view, she walks back through the living room, still holding up the lorgnette and stands on the porch that encloses the house’s interior verandah. Her husband walks by, fetches a book, and walks back again. He doesn’t notice her. She focuses her lorgnette on him. As his figure recedes into a different part of the house, her hand, still holding the lorgnette, drops to her side, and the camera zooms abruptly away from her.

Satyajit Ray’s film Charulata (1964) tells the story of a lonely young housewife whose distracted husband fails to notice until too late that she has fallen in love with his younger brother. The film is based on Rabindranath Tagore’s Bengali novella Broken Nest (Nashtaneer), which, along with two other Tagore novellas, Two Sisters (Dui Bon) and The Orchard (Malancha), about complicated marriages, has just come out in an excellent new translation by Arunava Sinha as the collection Three Women.