Leave the cannoli, take the movies

Review Blog

The Apu Trilogy

Posted by Jonathan Leithold-Patt on August 17, 2012 at 6:25 PM


Satyajit Ray


IDEA:  Beginning with his birth in a poor Bengal village, we follow Apu through life as he deals with everyday situations concerning family, education, and marriage.

BLURB:  Consisting of three standalone stunners, Pather Panchali (1955), Aparajito (1956), and The World of Apu (1959), the “Apu Trilogy” is a work of supreme elegance and humanity, a trilogy that, when seen together, makes a convincing argument that all a story really needs is characters we can emotionally invest in and relationships rooted in universal causes. Each film is a poignant continuation of the next, a carefully unfolding map that charts the journey of one Apu through childhood, adolescence, and adulthood, taking us along with him through inevitable tragedy and triumph. The flow and feeling of Ray’s films is like silk – soft, sensuous, loving, never interested in frivolity or gaudiness, always calm and confident and genuine. Accompanied by Ravi Shankar’s majestically plaintive notes is filmmaking at its most visually lyrical, imagery that supports and echoes the growth of the characters. Trains whiz past small children in a tease of the modernity they can’t have; doorways are used to frame a mother and her son, highlighting the passage between home and the outside world; a woman’s sorrowful sigh is followed by crashing waves. Not for a second does one feel that any shot is unnecessary, that any moment is unused. It’s with Ray’s economy, empathy, and eye for poetry that Apu is someone we are privileged to spend time with.

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