Festivals: Cannes, Paris, La Rochelle, Nantes, Pesaro, Munich, Ljubljana, London, Valladolid, Washington DC, Chicago, Seattle, Houston, New York, Havana, Alexandria, Sao Paulo, Sydney and Melbourne among others.
Awards: British Film Institute Award for the ‘Most Original and Imaginative film’ of 1982.
National Awards for the Best Regional Film and Best Audiography.
Kerala State Awards for Best Film, Best Cinemateography and Best Audiography.
Primarily it is the story of Unni who represents some of the worst traits of a parasitic privileged class. He is extremely egocentric and at the same time nurses a sense of guilt. As is often the case with such self-centred creatures who are weak willed,with generations of ease and plenty behind them, Unni suffers from a schizophrenic nervousness and indecision. He is incapable of dealing with the demands of a Changing world.
In this film I have tried to take a look at the interior of an attitude, a state of mind.
The story is so structured as to unfold in a series of departures — from a condition of entrapment to liberation. The first three are of the rats and the other three, different from one another, are of the human inmates of the old house.
I have given the film a very simple exterior for I want the audience to enter, without hesitation, into it.
Of the three films I have made to date ‘Elippathayam’ is the one closest to me. It is not only because the film, set in a remote village in Kerala, reflects faithfully my own economic and social background but also the characters portrayed here are modeled after those I have known intimately.
Filmmakers and Critics Say
‘The third feature film by writer –director Adoor Gopalakrishnan is a rarity in Indian cinema in that its formal methods and visual styling become the primary tools in treating this study of paranoia’
(John Gillet, International Film Guide)
‘The treatment is extra-ordinary: using rats as his governing metaphor, Gopalakrishnan Constructs the film like a cinematic rondo, making every composition and every camera movement count’
(Tony Rayns in TIME OUT)
‘Perhaps the major discovery has been Adoor Gopalakrishnan’s Rat-trap, a stylish and claustrophobic study of a petty land lord unable to face a changing future, which converted several notable waverers to the Asisan cause’
(Derek Malcolm in The Guardian)
‘A masterpiece’, Louis Marcorelle in Le Monde
‘Elippathayam is a work of art by a filmmaker of talent and vision’
( Richard Greenbaum in Films in Review)
‘Rat-trap is a powerful piece of filmmaking by a master of directing’
(Peter Noble in Screen International)
- Story, Script & Direction : Adoor Gopalakrishnan
- Production Company: General Pictures
- Producer: Ravi
- Executive Producer: T. C. Shankar
- Camera: Ravi Varma
- Sound: Devadas
- Music: M. B. Srinivasan
- Editing: M. Mani
- Art: Sivan
- Chief Assistant: Meera Sahib
- Year of Production: 1981
- Format: 35mm colour
- Duration: 121 Minutes
Cast and Characters
- Karamana as Unni
- Sarada as Rajamma, Unni’s younger sister
- Jalaja as Sridevi, the youngest sister
- Rajam K. Nair as Janamma, the elder sister
- Prakash as Janamma’s son
- Somasekharan Nair as Estate manager
- John Samuel as Estate manager’s son
- B. K. Nair as The match-maker
- Joycee as The low-caste woman
- Thampi as A neighbour
- B. Nair as The Court notice server