The Cinéphile Sundays series offers exemplary films—five each semester—from all parts of the globe and all periods of cinematic history. This fall, we celebrate the 100th anniversary of Charlie Chaplin’s creation of the character of the Tramp, by showing three of his films (one short and two features), plus three other films made in the spirit of the Tramp’s subversive laughter.
Awara, Hindi for “Tramp”, is a film directed and produced by Raj Kapoor who also plays a leading role. Raj’s Chaplinesque vagabond character is on trial for attempted murder and his lawyer is the beautiful Rita Nargis. Considered Kapoor’s finest, the film is notable for its darkly surreal sets and remarkable dream sequence. Despite its ultimate vindication of patriarchy and capitalism, the film became an enormous hit the U.S.S.R. and, thanks to Chairman Mao’s reputed fondness for it, in China.