Closet Land

A young woman (Madeleine Stowe) who writes children’s books gets arrested without warning in the dead of night because her work is deemed subversive, and a male interrogator (Alan Rickman) tries without success to break down her defenses with various forms of physical and psychological coercion. There are some very striking uses of animation (by Sheila M. Sofian and David Fain) to illustrate the heroine’s consciousness. This two-character piece, a first film written and directed by Radha Bharadwaj and confined to a single set (designed, along with the costumes, by Eiko Ishioka), has most of the drawbacks of film allegorynameless characters in a nameless country that we are asked to accept as universal, and a certain conceptual pretentiousness that can work against the obvious seriousness of the subject. But if one can accept certain givenswhich include torture of one kind or another occurring for most of the film’s running timeit’s hard to fault the execution of the material, which is crisp, taut, and purposeful. (JR)

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