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Not to have seen the cinema of Ray
means existing in the world without seeing the sun or the moon."
-- Akira Kurosawa
Considered one of the foremost filmmakers of the 20th century,
Indian director Satyajit Ray (1921 - 1992) established himself as a major
force with his widely celebrated APU TRILOGY. He is known for his humanistic
approach to storytelling. He made his films in Bengali, a language spoken in West Bengal,
the eastern state of India, and Bangladesh. Ray directly controlled many aspects of
filmmaking. He wrote all the screenplays of his films, many of which were based on his own
stories. He designed the sets and costumes and operated the camera beginning with CHARULATA
(1964). He composed the music for all his films starting in 1962 and designed the
publicity posters for his new releases. In addition to filmmaking, Ray was a composer, a
writer and a graphic designer. Satyajit Ray was given an honorary Academy Award in 1992
for Lifetime Achievement.
Thursday, March 13 7:30 PM
PATHER PANCHALI, 1955, New Yorker
Films, 125 min. Director Satyajit Ray burst onto the international film
scene with this first film, based upon Bibhutibhushan Bannerjees novel of the same
name. As Part One of what would become the APU TRILOGY, PATHER PANCHALI depicts a poor
Brahmin family struggling to survive in their small Bengali village. The birth of a new
child, Apu, marks the beginning of new adventures -- and struggles -- for the family. This
dense mosaic of village life introduces Apu's dreamy father, fretful mother, and
tempestuous older sister, with the child Apu a wide-eyed observer. Beautifully balancing
the prosaic and poetic, it depicts harsh poverty and childhood raptures with unsentimental
compassion. Scenes of Apu and his sister exploring their surroundings are among the most
beautiful and memorable moments ever captured on film. Voted one of the ten greatest films
of all time in the 1992 Sight & Sound poll. With music by legendary Ravi Shankar.
"One of the most stunning first films in movie history." - Jack Kroll, Newsweek
Friday, March 14 7:30 PM
APARAJITO (THE UNVANQUISHED), 1956,
New Yorker Films, 108 min. Dir. Satyajit Ray. Part Two in the APU TRILOGY, this
film affirmed Rays stance as a master of cinema. Aparajito follows Apu from ages 10
to 17. Apu and his family are now living in a new village along the banks of the holy
Ganges River. Faced with the loss of his father and the demands of fast-approaching
adulthood, Apu goes on to study in Calcutta, leaving his mother behind. APARAJITO centers
around Apus maturation and his changing relationship with his widowed mother. One of
the cinema's most profound treatments of parent-child relationships. With more superb
music by Ravi Shankar.
APUR SANSAR (THE WORLD OF APU),
1958, New Yorker Films, 103 min. Dir. Satyajit Ray. As the APU TRILOGYs final
installment, APUR SANSAR depicts Apus challenges with adult life in the city. Living
again in poverty, Apu is forced to sell his books and begins writing an autobiographical
novel. Upon making an unexpected visit to a small village, Apu finds himself as the groom
in an arranged marriage. Life with his new bride gives way to love -- and a child -- and
ultimately proves to be both joyous and tragic. With music by Ravi Shankar.
Saturday, March 15 7:30 PM
THE MUSIC ROOM (JALSAGHAR), 1958,
New Yorker Films, 100 min. Dir. Satyajit Ray. An arrogant member of the declining
aristocracy demonstrates both his refined taste and his ruinous self-indulgence by holding
lavish concerts in his prized music room. Splendidly decadent settings and virtuoso
musical performances mark this potent mixture of nostalgia and irony, which ranks with
Visconti's THE LEOPARD and Welles' THE MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS as a double-edged elegy for a
dying upper-class world.
CHARULATA, 1964, New Yorker Films,
117 min. Dir. Satyajit Ray. In Victorian India, a restless young woman struggles to
come to terms with her enforced upper-class idleness, suppressed literary talent and
illicit love for her husband's cousin. Madhabi Mukherjee's vibrant lead
performance, the fluid and inventive camerawork and the especially rich fusion of Eastern
and Western themes are among the reasons why CHARULATA is widely considered Ray's most
accomplished film, as well as being the director's personal favorite.