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Spring 2008
April 22

Pather Panchali
(Song of the Little Road)

Pather Panchali  photosIndia, 1955, 115 min., drama
Director: Satyajit Ray
Bengali with English subtitles

Satyajit Ray's first film, Pather Panchali is a legend. Filmed on a meagre budget with an almost entirely novice crew and cast, it went on to win a prize at Cannes in 1956, and is still on many critics' "top 100 films" lists. Based on a classic Indian novel about growing up in rural Bengal, the film portrays the daily life of a poor Brahmin family. When the father, Harihar, a struggling poet/ playwright, leaves for the city to pursue his writing career, mother Sarbojaya must find ways to make ends meet while caring for her aged aunt, mischievous daughter Durga, and sensitive son Apu. The film was scored by a young and unknown musician-Ravi Shankar.

Two sequels, made in 1956 and 1959, completed the highly-regarded Apu Trilogy and cemented Ray's international reputation.

"The first film by the masterly Satyajit Ray — possibly the most unembarrassed and natural of directors — is a quiet reverie about the life of an impoverished Brahman family in a Bengali village. Beautiful, sometimes funny, and full of love, it brought a new vision of India to the screen."— Pauline Kael

LINKS

»  Wikipedia entry for the film.
»  Film details and reviews from the Satyajit Ray web site.
»  Review of The Apu Trilogy by Roger Ebert.

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