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PATHER PANCHALI

India, 1952 (MIFF 1968, Programme 17)

Director: Satyajit Ray

The Apu Trilogy, India's most important contribution to world cinema so far, is based on the Bengali novel by Bibhuti Bhusan Bannerji. The book contains a great deal of autobiographical material and is a best seller in Bengal.

The central figure of the trilogy, Apu, is a small child in Part One, Pather Panchali. There is no conventional plot, the film shows the life of a poor family living in a Bengali village. There are two children, Apu and his own sister, Durga, the parents and a very old relative, "auntie". The children play their games and discover the world around them, the relationship between the individual members of the family unfolds against the broader background of their life in the village community.

The monsoon comes, Durga becomes ill, dies. The ancient auntie also dies, and the diminished family packs up to move to Benares in the hope of a better future.

Satyajit Ray said "I chose 'Pather Panchali' for the qualities that made it a great book its humanism lyricism and ring of truth". With supreme empathy, he translated all these qualities from the printed page, unspoilt by sentimentality, into poignant images on the screen.

See also...

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 »

APARAJITO

In the second part of the Apu trilogy, we find Harihar, his wife, Sarbojaya, and their son, Apu, in the holy city of Benares. Here, the father ekes out a living by reading the scriptures; when he ... More »

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 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 »

WORLD OF APU

So much has already been written about Pather Panchali and Aparajito that Ray's trilogy was destined for classic status even before the release of the third instalment, and the various influences ... More »

MIDDLEMAN

Somnath is a bright student, but he only gets an ordinary pass in his BA exams. His indifferent results make it difficult for him to get a job. Frustrated by inconclusive interviews, he comes across ... More »

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