Jul 13, 2009

19th July 2009; Satyajit Ray's Aparajito

A film by Satyajit Ray
Year : 1956
Run time: 110 min
Bengali with English sub titles
19th July 2009 ; 5.45 pm
Ashwin Hospital Auditorium
Call: 94430 39630

Aparajito, the middle installment of legendary film maker Satyajit Ray's Apu Trilogy, follows his 1955 debut, Pather Panchali, and precedes 1959's The World of Apu. Although Pather Panchali is a study of near-perfect cinematic style and exquisite emotional insight, Aparajito lifts Ray's talents to new levels.
The film is basically about Apu growing up and growing away from his mother. The highlight of the film is the mother-son relationship and conflict. The characterization of Apu and mother are a treat. Karuna Banerjee gives a brilliant performance as Sarbajaya.
As usual, the film is devoid of excesses both in form and content. In the early sequences of Aparajito, Ray paints a memorable picture of the city and its culture -- Banaras is a place where the ordinary and the majestic blend seamlessly together. Shots of the sacred steps and the men immersing themselves in the river are among the movie's most lasting images.

Apu, now sixteen, wins a scholarship and departs for Calcutta, leaving her alone. It breaks Sarbajaya's heart, but she relents. Her health is failing, and the loneliness in the village takes its toll.
Engulfed in city life - studying during the day and working in a printing press at night to pay for his expenses - Apu grows away from his mother. His visits get shorter as the time passes. This emotional distance unnoticed by the growing Apu, hurts Sarbajaya deeply. She waits silently for her son's visit as her illness accelerates and falls into a depression.
Aparajito was filmed forty years ago, yet the themes and emotions embedded in the narrative are strikingly relevant to modern society (thus explaining why it is called a "timeless classic"). While watching this film, who doesn't nod knowingly when Sarbojaya carefully packs Apu's suitcase before his trip, adding a jar of home made butter and pleading with him to write soon? And how familiar is it when mother and son meet after a long separation, and her first comment is that he has grown taller and doesn't appear to be eating well? One aspect of Ray's mastery is that, even though he creates unique worlds for his stories, the films' basic, universal truths allow them to speak directly to the hearts of each viewer.
(Source – Internet)

Satyajit Ray was born in Calcutta into an exceptionally talented family who were prominent in Bengali arts and letters. His father died when he was an infant and his mother and her younger brother's family brought him up. After graduating from Presidency College, Calcutta, in 1940, he studied art at Rabindranath Tagore's University in Shantiniketan, West Bengal. He took up commercial advertising and he also designed covers and illustrated books brought out by Signet Press. One of these books was an edition of Bibhutibhushan Bandyopadhya's novel, Pather Panchali, which was to become his first film. In 1947 Ray established the Calcutta Film Society. During a six month trip to Europe in 1950, he managed to see 100 films, including Vittorio De Sica's Ladri di Biciclette (1948), which greatly inspired him. He returned convinced that it was possible to make realist cinema and with an amateur crew he endeavoured to prove this to the world.

In 1955, after incredible financial hardship (shooting on the film stopped for over a year) his adaptation of Pather Panchali (Song of the Little Road) was completed. Prior to the 1956 Cannes Festival, Indian Cinema was relatively unknown in the West, just as Japanese cinema had been prior to Kurosawa's Rashomon (1950). However, with Pather Panchali, Satyajit Ray suddenly assumed great importance. The film went on to win numerous awards abroad including Best Human Document at Cannes. Pather Panchali's success launched an extraordinary international film career for Ray.

A prolific filmmaker, during his lifetime Ray directed 36 films, comprising of features, documentaries and short stories. These include the renowned Apu trilogy (Pather Panchali, Aparajito [1956] and Apur Sansar [1959]), Jalsaghar (1958), Postmaster (1961), Charulata (1964), Days and Nights in the Forest (1969) and Pikoo (1980) along with a host of his lesser known works which themselves stand up as fine examples of story telling. His films encompass a diversity of moods, techniques, and genres: comedy, satire, fantasy and tragedy. Usually he made films in a realist mode, but he also experimented with surrealism and fantasy.
Source : www.sensesofcinema.com


Just Another Film Buff said...

Great work guys... That's a lot of promotion for good cinema... ALl the best.

Greg Cameron said...

"Aparajito" by Satyajit Ray is a true masterpiece of world cinema. Not only is Ray a great storyteller, he has a tremendous eye. I'm going out on a limb here, but he arguably has the greatest eye in cinema since Jean Renoir. This is a beautiful film, sometimes funny, often very sad. Your knowledge of world cinema is not complete if you do not know the work of Satyajit Ray. The performance of the woman playing the mother here is a work of wonder. Every frame is a work of art. Really, Satyajit Ray is a national treasure of India. See his work by all means. Simpsons creator Matt Groening once said in Spin magazine that the 'Apu' trilogy makes him snivel like a baby. You wouldn't want Matt to snivel all alone now, would you? Greg Cameron, Surrey, B.C., Canada