Closet Land

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Closet Land
Closet land.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Radha Bharadwaj
Produced by Brian Grazer
Ron Howard
Karen Koch
Janet Meyers
Written by Radha Bharadwaj
Starring Madeleine Stowe
Alan Rickman
Music by Richard Einhorn
Philip Glass
Cinematography Bill Pope
Edited by Lisa Zeno Churgin
Distributed by Universal Studios
Release dates March 6, 1991 (United States)
September 10, 1991 (Toronto Film Festival)
April 2, 1993 (Japan)
June 1, 1994 (France)
February 25, 1999 (Argentina)
January 2, 2000 (TV premiere)
Running time 89 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Box office $259,012

Closet Land is a 1991 independent film written and directed by Radha Bharadwaj. The film stars Madeleine Stowe as Victim, a young author of children's books who is interrogated by a sadistic secret policeman Alan Rickman known as Interrogator.


Set in an unspecified country, Stowe's character is taken from her home in the middle of the night, accused of embedding anarchistic messages into her book, entitled Closet Land. The book is a story about a child who, as a result of bad behaviour, has been locked in a closet as punishment. While in there, the child is greeted by a group of childhood ally archetypes who innocently attempt to comfort the scared little girl. The seemingly simple content is questioned by the government, which accuses the author of encouraging and introducing anarchism among its audience of naïve children.

While the interrogator is obstinate in his belief that the author is guilty of hidden propaganda, the audience is convinced of the victim's innocence. The audience later learns that the novel was actually created as a form of escapism, providing a coping mechanism for the author, who endured sexual abuse as a child. Near the end of the film, the interrogator claims that he was the man who had sexually abused the author in her childhood. But one cannot be entirely sure he was the one who abused her, as the film suggests he was just using the abuse against her as a way of breaking her down.


  • Madeleine Stowe as Victim, a young author of children's books and also interrogated by a sadistic secret policeman.
  • Alan Rickman as Interrogator, a ruthless interrogator.

Behind the scenes[edit]

The script was Radha Bharadwaj's winning submission to The Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting program in 1989. The Nicholl Fellowships are run by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

It is left up to the viewer as to whether Stowe's character has in fact run afoul of the Government — or, alternatively, that the Interrogator is acting alone.

The film exhibits the use of brutal and inhumane torture to coerce confessions from innocent victims. The human rights organization Amnesty International served as consultants for the film.

Stowe and Rickman are the only cast of the film and they are both credited.

Radha said that this film was an outgrowth of her graduate studies at Temple University (PA), that she charmed her Hollywood producers into giving her money to do the film... and that they dropped it upon release.


While Universal released the film theatrically on March 6, 1991, the film was released on videocassette six months later by Media Home Entertainment, distributed by Fox Video. In 1993, Video Treasures released an EP-Mode recorded tape of the film. A DVD has been released in Europe.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]