Cleveland International Film Festival } April 7 – April 20, 2021

THRONE OF DEATH
(MARANA SIMHASANAM)

Year: 1999
Country: India
Run Time: 60 minutes

Winner of the Camera d'Or at Cannes, THRONE OF DEATH begins quietly but ends with a jolt and a shudder. On the impoverished island of Kerala, off the Indian coast, village culture goes on much as it has for centuries, with the exceptions of the wreathed portrait of Lenin and portable radios bringing music, news, and politics from the outside world. Krishnan, a peasant in debt to a landowner, turns thief to feed his family and is promptly caught. Such are the island's ways that a guilty man gets blamed for all unsolved crimes, and soon Krishnan is sentenced to hang for varied offenses including murder. Everyone, even the landowner, agrees it is a shame. Then they learn of a modern miracle from America ? a foolproof new ?electronic chair? for instant execution of the condemned. And then the hunger strikes begin. Politicians declaim, traditional dancers twirl, radios blare, and ?comrade? Krishnan is lauded as a hero who deserves the ?simple, blissful death? invented by Yankee ingenuity. If only the wonderful electronic chair could be brought to Kerala... You hear the phrase ?culture of death? often, linked to capital punishment, assisted suicide, abortion. But seldom has it been brought to life so plainly yet ironically as in Murali Nair's shockingly fatal fable. (In Hindi with English subtitles.)

Screenplay
Bharathan Njarakkal, Murali Nair.

Director
Murali Nair

Producer
Preeya Nair.

Cinematography
M.J. Radhakrishnan.

Editing
Lalitha Krishna.

Principal Cast
Lakshmi Raman, Viswas Njarakkal, Sudhas Thayet, Bharathan Njarakkal.

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