Four Women

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Oft-thwarted female aspirations in rural Kerala come under scrutiny in this worthy but dramatically under-performing portmanteau. A prostitute finds it hard to leave her past behind; a virgin’s rail-roaded into marriage by her family, but their choice of bridegroom proves her undoing; a childless wife ponders infidelity with an obviously fertile male acquaintance. In each instance Gopalakrishnan’s reserved directorial manner doesn’t sufficiently point up the intended ironies, but this slow-burn works better in the final tale, tracing a spinster’s strength in solitude when her arranged would-be husband plumps instead for her younger sister. Beautifully photographed, but too much of a trudge.

By: Trevor Johnston

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