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Living on the Edge: The Vestigial World of Adoor Gopalakrishnan's Elippathayam/Rat Trap

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Set against the backdrop of his native Kerala-the locale of virtually all his films—Adoor Gopalakrishnan has produced a loose trilogy which focuses on the vestiges of feudalism. The trio-Elippathayam/Rat Trap (1981), Vidheyan/ The Servile (1993), and Kathapurushan/The Man of the Story (1995)—feature men from land—owning families who grapple with the challenge of living in a post—feudal society. These films are, in effect, is a study of a consciousness shaped by the destructive ideology of a system that has lost its historical frame of reference. To make a mockery of keeping such a system alive is to court neurosis and perversion.

Keywords: Adoor Gopalakrishnan; Elippathayam/Rat Trap; post-feudal society; power

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: March 1, 2010

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  • Asian Cinema is a seminal journal, which has been published since 1995 by the Asian Cinema Studies Society under the stewardship of Professor John Lent. From 2012 Asian Cinema will be published by Intellect as part of our Film Studies journal portfolio. The journal currently publishes a variety of scholarly material - including research articles, interviews, book and film reviews and bibliographies - on all forms and aspects of Asian cinema. The journal's broad aim is to advance understanding and knowledge of the rich traditions of the various Asian cinemas, thereby making an invaluable contribution to the field of Film Studies in general.
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