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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 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 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 »

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 »

NAYAK

The Hero is one of Satyajit Ray's modern stories, concerned with the life and thoughts of an Indian film star as he travels by train to collect a prize in Delhi. Through dreams and flashbacks, he ... More »

WORLD OF APU

The third part of the Bengali saga continues the story of Apu, now a young man living in Calcutta and dreaming of a literary career and a positive future. An old friend invites him to a village ... 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 »

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