With the release of Satyajit Ray’s debut, an eloquent, important new cinematic voice made itself heard all over the world. A depiction of rural Bengali life in a style inspired by Italian neorealism, this naturalistic but poetic evocation follows a number of years in the life of an Indian family.
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Re-rating this, since the new restoration on the big screen makes all the difference over a fuzzy video tape. Beautiful, heartfelt, elliptical—more stunning shots than you can count, and the ways it chooses to show (or not show) vital plot points may be its biggest breakthrough. I still think there's something to the criticism that it's constructed too loosely; even beauty can be numbing. But you won't forget it.
Shares much of its DNA with the Italian neorealism of The Bicycle Thieves: small ripples having devastating effects in the lives of proud, desperate people. It may be the first part in Apu's trilogy, but really this is Sarbojaya's story, focusing on her gritted determination, and her bitterness at the cards that life has dealt her.
Every time there's hope, it's followed by tragedy. And yet, it never feels like tragedy porn, as the film balances the two emotions in parallel, rarely over-emphasizing one above the other. It's less Song of the Little Road and more Symphony of Life.
Just had the opportunity to see the new 4K restoration in a movie theater. Revelatory. I have never been a full-on Satyajit Ray convert and have not seen Pather Panchali since the late 90s. It always struck me as something naked and simple, almost primitivist. Which is wrong. Totally backwards, in fact. The level of sophistication in terms of narrative, blocking, camera positioning, and the use of actors is stunning.
Fantastic. Pather Panchali is full of fleeting moments of child-like wonder and heartbreaking tragedy. Apu is one of the better child characters you will ever find on film. This is a true masterwork of social realism.
Beautiful, quiet, sublime masterwork from Satyajit Ray. I loved the mood of this film, it was quite sad but at times filled with wonder and beauty. The acting was unreal, as was the cinematography. Despite its story feeling fairly simple (I mean that as a compliment) it still feels grand in scope. I'm excited to watch the other two in the trilogy.
One of the most beautiful scenes in cinema: when kids Durga & Apu see the train passing by across a field of 'kaash' flowers. Another such a memorable scene with kids and trains appears in Victor Erice's "The Spirit Of The Beehive".