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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...

THE ADVENTURES OF GOOPY AND BAGHA

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MAHANAGAR

Turning his back on the nostalgic past, on the lyricism of his earlier films. Satyajit Ray has produced a completely realistic contemporary masterpiece. Its theme is the conflict between the old and ... More »

THE MUSIC ROOM

This film was made between the second and third parts of the Apu trilogy. Where the trilogy shows the gradual breaking up of the simple traditional family life and religion, and their replacement by ... More »

THE ELEPHANT GOD

Each new film by Satyajit Ray brings with it fond memories of earlier privileged moments from this master of cinema. Ray has now been at the height of his powers for some years, and his work in the ... More »

THE STRANGER

... ... The great Indian director Satyajit Ray died in April, shortly after receiving an Oscar for his lifetime achievements. His last film,The Stranger, is a deceptively simple but affecting moral ... More »

TWO DAUGHTERS

Made to celebrate the centenary of Rabindranath Tagore, "Two Daughters" is based on a duo of his short stories, "The Postmaster and "Samapti". The director, Satyajit Ray, has described them as ... More »

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