By the time Apur Sansar was released, Satyajit Ray was well on his way to becoming a legend, and this extraordinary final chapter of The Apu Trilogy brings our protagonist’s journey full circle, with Apu now in his early twenties, out of college, and hoping to live as a writer.
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It's remarkable to see Ray grow as a filmmaker: the dexterity of the camera & the wit of the dialogue are a huge leap ahead, and this rigor makes it the most inviting of the 3. But it's also the most prosaic, the most given over to contrivance, where the rest of the trilogy let incident, detail, and human universals pass like a dream. I must admit I'm stunned by moments of beauty and a little disappointed by the end.
One of the great works of art about love. O, what love! Sharmila Tagore as Aparna makes a vivid mockery of the notion of the beautiful woman in cinema being a mere object of desire. That she is so circumspect and demure allows for the moments in which she exposes her own heart to throw the movie into an ecstatic orbit. Aparna, even in reflection, fills me w/ such joy. Her absence stands in for all absences.
I knew Ray only by name, and the fact that I started my exploration of his Cinema from the final film of the trilogy says it all about my ignorance... However I am devastated. The beauty of Art is that as soon as you begin to lose faith... Whenever you think you know well enough the boundaries of the medium, you suddenly find a new jem before your very eyes, that makes you dream again. What a brilliant, perfect film!
The Apu trilogy and Kiarostami's Koker trilogy both have the same level of artistry and beauty. I see many similarities between "Where is the Friends House?" and "Song of the Little Road". I hope that more people get a chance to see these wonderful films, it is quite an experience I can tell you.
The Apu trilogy is more than the story of a life, but the story of many. It is as much about it's main protagonist as it is the people, particularly the women, who shape his life. It is his grandmother's story, his sister's, his mother's, and his wife's. Ray has quite a way with actresses it seems, and these women form the backbone of Apu's own story with absolutely excellent performances.