3.5 - It took me way too many years to take the time and watch some of Ray's work, but I can see why he is regarded as one of the greatest filmmakers. Although his works aren't interesting formally, the worlds and characters he creates are very intriguing and visually they are great. I see that Kaplanoglu was heavily inspired by this trilogy and reading up, he acknowledged it. Both trilogies - monuments of cinema
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.
the faulty and reductive boundaries between world films as pigeonholes of their own culture is shattered by the power of the imagery of this and the two other films in the trilogy. the films are not just about india but us as humans. ray, along with ghatak, has given us these films as a priceless gift to mankind.
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.
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.
The satisfying ending to a great trilogy. 100 proof humanism, straight up. It was already dying then, now humanism is completely dead through militarism, consumerism and commodification, including human commodification. We can only look back at this with hopeless nostalgia.
A stronger narrative thread than in the first two Apu movies and with more confident and assured direction and camerawork. This makes for a more immediately engaging film and allows us to relish the romance that emerges from Apu's happenstance marriage to Aparna who, as played by Sharmila Tagore, it would be difficult for anyone to not fall in love with.