Sanghita Sen

Honorary Research Fellow of Film Studies, University of St Andrews

Voted for

SUBARNAREKHA1965Ritwik Ghatak
Korczak1990Andrzej Wajda
Brief Encounters1987Kira Muratova
ROSA LUXEMBURG1986Margarethe von Trotta
Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles1975Chantal Akerman
What Has Happened to This City?1986Deepa Dhanraj
Stop Genocide1971Zahir Raihan
Black Girl1965Ousmane Sembène
Bakita Byaktigato (The Rest is Personal)2013Pradipta Bhattacharya



1965 India

Besides bearing the unmissable signature of Ritwik Ghatak as a great filmmaker of the world cinema, Subarnarekha/ The Golden Line, the final film of the Partition Trilogy, quintessentailly chronicles the trials and tribulations of countless people who overnigt became refugees in their own homeland as a consequence of the catastrophe imposed upon the Indian subcontinent through the Partion of the country in 1947.


1977 India

Based on a short story by Mushi Premchand, this Telugu language film is a critical commentary on social injustice and caste system in India, Oka Oori Katha appears to me as a remarkable political film that is comparable to the political filmmaking projects of Latin America. This film is an example of Indian Third Cinema practice.


1990 Poland, Federal Republic of Germany, France, United Kingdom

This biopic of the Polish-Jewish educator Janusz Korczak is a remarkable film on Holocost and humanitarian commitments of Dr Korczak to Jewish orphans sentenced to the Treblinka gas chambers.

Brief Encounters

1987 USSR, Ukrainian SSR

This film by Ukranian filmmaker Kira Muratova critically engages with the idea of love, radical transformation of desire and the question of gender in post-Bolshevic revolution Soviet Union.


1986 Federal Republic of Germany

In this biopic of Luxemberg, one of the most celebrated revilutionary, philosopher, and anti-war activist, several layers of very compliated issues and historical time come alive and makes it a remarkable political film.

Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles

1975 Belgium, France

Presenting a single mother's monotonous routine of household chores and sex work as labour, this film brilliantly contests the practice of highly sexualised depiction of female body in cinema with reference to sex work. The unique editing and camera shots Akerman used for the film made the monotony very affective.

What Has Happened to This City?


This film is one of the most striking documentaries on intercommunal violence in India in 1984. Made on a very relevant issue, this film feels very contemporary even after nearly three decades of its relaese, not only in today's India overpowered by Hindutva fundamentalism that constantly demonises the Indian Muslims, but also transnationally in context of rising bigotry, racism, and islamophobia.

Stop Genocide

1971 Bangladesh

This 20 minutes short documentary film is a rare visible evidence of human rigts violation and brutal violence unleashed by Pakistani Army on Bengalis in East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) during the Bangladesh Liberation Movement. The extremely important film also documents the trials and tributions of refugees and the government in exile.

Black Girl

1965 Senegal, France

Based on his own short stories, this film, directed by Senegalese filmmaker Ousmane Sembene, is critical of colonialism, racism, and discrimination that African/Black people encounter in the West.

Bakita Byaktigato (The Rest is Personal)


This Bengali language experimental film is a trendsetter in the new Indie Cinema in India. This was the first Bengali film which was fully filmed on digital camera using mostly handheld shots and on-location shooting, shoe-string budget, wonderfully utilising non-actors, went onto win the national award for best film in 2013.

Further remarks

It is very difficult to make a list of only 10 films literally from innumerable films from all over the world that I have had the privilege of watching as a cinephile and film researcher. However, it was also a very engaging task that offered me oportunity to think about films that stayed with me and had a deep impact on me. India, and indeed South Asia is extremely prolific and diverse when it comes to cinema. As my area of expertise and interest is in political cinema, I realise that most of the films in my list are political films. Since I had to list just 10 films, I tried avoiding obvious and well known names of films and directors. While finalising my list, as I kept in mind linguistic, cultural, gender, and racial diversity, I also paid attention to thematic diversity and genre and included two documentary films. Thank you for offering me the opportunity to revisit my memories of cinem going. I look forward seeing the final list