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It could be argued that although Mrinal Sen films show the development of ideas from existentialism, surrealism, Marxism, German expressionism, Postmodernism, Nouvelle Vague and Italian neorealism. Sen’s cinema, for the most part, does not provide a happy ending or a definitive conclusion (unlike many of the films of Sen’s better-known contemporary Satyajit Ray). In many of Sen’s later films, the audience becomes a participant in the process of the development of the plot. The director invites and provokes the audience into a shared process of forming multiple conclusions, that is at the same time unique and different. The director does not play the role of god, his audience does. It is not really surprising that unlike Allen who has a steady niche audience in the Western literati and aficionados, Sen’s experimentation with parallel cinema had significantly cost him much of a devoted audience composing of largely the Calcutta-based westernized intelligentsia.

In 1982 he was a member of the jury at the 32nd Berlin International Film Festival. In 1983 he was a member of the jury at the 13th Moscow International Film Festival. In 1997 he was a member of the jury at the 20th Moscow International Film Festival.

Mrinal Sen never stopped experimenting with his medium. In his later films, he tried to move away from the narrative structure and worked with very thin storylines. After a long gap of eight years, at the age of eighty, he made his latest film, Aamaar Bhuvan, in 2002.

In many Mrinal Sen movies from Punascha to Mahaprithivi, Kolkata features prominently. He has shown Kolkata as a character, and as an inspiration. He has beautifully woven the people, value system, class difference and the roads of the city into his movies and coming of age for Kolkata, his El-Dorado.

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Celebrating Cinema

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