Pather Panchali (Ray, 1955): BFI Southbank, NFT1, 6.10pm
This debut film by Satyajit Ray, which opens the season devoted to the great Indian director's work, also screens on 18th August. Details can be found here.
Time Out review:
It’s 50 years since the late, great Bengali writer-director Satyajit Ray
made his debut with this, the first and finest installment of his
ground-breaking ‘Apu Trilogy’. It was the first Indian movie to attract
attention in the West, and if your experience of subcontinental cinema
extends no further than Bollywood’s romantic musicals, it’s not just
the film’s enduring status as a landmark of world cinema that makes it
essential viewing. It remains a miracle of lyrical realism: the
detailed, documentary-style observation of village life as experienced
by young Apu, his sister Durga, their parents and ancient grandma is
inflected by a marvellous use of motifs (trains beckoning to another,
industrialised urban world, water as a symbol of cyclical regeneration)
to turn a simple rites-of-passage story into pure poetry. A hymn to
curiosity, courage and conscience, it introduces Apu as an opening eye,
innocent of adult anxieties but alert to adventure and, finally, moral
discovery. Ravi Shankar’s music is great too. A masterpiece, inarguably.
Here is an introduction to the movie.