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July 31, 2016

A Tribute to Smita Patil

One of the greatest Indian actresses, Smita Patil appeared in 80 films before she tragically died at age 31 from childbirth complications. Patil left behind an astonishing body of work, and a legacy for advancing women's issues. Smita Patil's sister, Anita, will participate in a panel discussion which will look at Smita Patil's life and work following a screening of Bhumika.

(The Role)

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Film still: Bhumika
Best Actress
Best Screenplay
National Film Awards,
Best Feature
Chicago Intl
Film Fest

Smita Patil stars as an actresss from a traditional courtesan background coming to terms with contemporary mass culture in the first Hindi film from the New Indian Cinema movement to break through and reach a large audience. The fourth feature by Shyam Benegal, Bhumika follows Usha, a movie actress, (Patil) as she leaves her husband and seeks protection from her co-star, and then on a feudal estate, in a powerful story of a woman striving for independence. Bhumika was transformational in expanding the themes of Indian cinema and engaging it with mass audiences. Smita Patil, who worked with all the great Indian filmmakers (Satyajit Ray, Benegal, Mrinal Sen, Aravindan, Govind Nihalani) became the icon of this parallel cinema which was not afraid to tackle social issues.

Directed by Shyam Benegal, India, 1977. With Smita Patil, Amol Palekar, Anant Nag. Cinematoghraphy by Govind Nihalani. In Hindi with English subtitles, 142 minutes.


  • Sunday, July 31 at 4 pm
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$10 general admission

$5 for Facets Members

The Facets Cinémathèque is located at 1517 W. Fullerton Ave. in Chicago. Call the Cinémathèque Hotline at 773.281.4114 for the latest schedule, showtimes and updates.

For all Cinémathèque inquiries, contact Charles Coleman at 773.281.9075 or

  • John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
  • Artworks: National Endowment for the Arts
  • Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences
  • Comer Family Foundation
  • Bloomberg Philanthropies
  • Alphawood Foundation
  • Polk Bros. Foundation