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KANCHENJUNGHA

India, 1963 (MIFF 1968, Programme 1)

Director: Satyajit Ray

The setting for Satyajit Ray's first film in colour is the beautiful hill station of Darjeeling, in the foothills of the Himalayas: a point suspended in time between modern India and the gracious past. Here, affluent citizens from Calcutta take refuge from the summer heat. The entire action of the film takes place during one afternoon—during the last day of the stay of a wealthy family. Here, on holiday with his down­trodden relatives, an elderly tycoon finds his values shattered by a chance meeting with a young man who refuses to be ruled. . . .

As the characters stroll about the converging paths, their lives shape subtly into new patterns: past and present are revealed woven into a rich texture. Throughout their perambulations, the tracking camera catches the mists that gather to turn the colours into subtle pastels, then drift away to allow the sun to highlight bright, pictorial settings. Ray uses the changing moods of the weather to counterpoint the develop­ment of his story.

This was the first film in which Ray showed his country's rich bourgeoisie, a class he knows well. It was also his first film in which the women were recognizably modern, having acquired the boredom of sophistication. Finally, it is the only Ray film in which the English apear: the Viceroys have gone, leaving behind a slightly preposterous jumble of music and milk chocolate.

See also...

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MAHANAGAR

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DISTANT THUNDER

This is Satyajit Ray's second film in colour, and the Grand Prize winner at the Berlin Festival. The film is set in 1942, and its subject is the impact of war on an isolated Bengali village. ... The ... More »

THE KINGDOM OF DIAMONDS

"It is an ironic comment that the major audiences for Satyajit Ray's mature works are in the West, whilst commercial interests in India limit them to a small coterie: yet his children*s films have a ... More »

Monihara

Monihara, a ghost story based on a tale by Rabmdranath Tagore, is told by a dishevelled teacher to a silent, dark-clad figure on a river bank. Phanibhushan, a rich jute merchant, brings his beautiful ... More »

The Inner Eye

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