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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...

CHARULATA

Charulata is based on a novel by Rabindranath Tagore. The setting is Calcutta in 1880, where the upper-class Bengali milieu, though strongly rooted in tradition, is nourished by English liberal ... 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 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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

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