(1959) aka Song of the Little RoadPlot
The early twentieth century: in a remote village in Bengal, India a family struggles to survive. The father, a priest, is frequently away from home on work leaving his wife to care for their mischievous daughter, his elderly cousin and their newborn son, Apu.Origin
Pather Panchali is adapted from a novel by Bibhutibhushan Bandopadhyay
. Satyajit Ray
, then working as an artist, became aware of the novel in 1943 when he was hired to do illustrations for a new edition of the novel. He subsequently became interested in filming the novel despite having no experience with cinema.
In 1949, Ray met Jean Renoir
who had come to Kolkata to shoot The River
. While helping Renoir find filming locations in the countryside, Ray told him about his idea of filming Pather Panchali and Renoir encouraged him to proceed. In 1950, Ray spent three months in London for work. During this time he allegedly saw 99 films including Vittorio De Sica
's Bicycle Thieves
(1948) which had a profound impact on him. Ray later said that he came out of the theater determined to become a filmmaker.Persons Involved
Pather Panchali is the first film by Indian director Satyajit Ray. Ray would go on to become India's greatest director and one of the great auteurs of world cinema.
The film also marks the debut of cinematographer Subrata Mitra
, a still photographer who had never before photographed a feature. Mitra would later pioneer the technique of bounce lighting.
The score for the film was composed by the sitar player Ravi Shankar
, who was at the early stage of his career.Cinematic Influence
Pather Panchali was sent to the 1956 Cannes Film Festival with the personal approval of the Prime Minister of India. It was awarded the Best Human Document prize at this festival.
Ray would go on to direct two highly acclaimed sequels - Aparajito
(1956) and Apur Sansar
(1959) - with increasing focus on Apu. The Apu Trilogy is considered to be one of the greatest trilogies of all time.Is it worth watching today?
It certainly is. The film has a sort of dreamy, magical feel which it maintains even when the characters encounter great moments of tragedy. Rare is the film that deals with such subject matters without becoming melodramatic. However, the deliberate pace may test those with short attention spans.
It's difficult to say which of the three Apu films is the best. While it is true that Ray's technique greatly improves over the trilogy, I'm not sure that the same can always be said of the plot. For maximum enjoyment I recommend looking at the entire trilogy. In lieu of that, seeing only Pather Panchali is still one fine alternative. 9/10.I know there are 2 posts above me, but there isn't really much about the movie so I whipped this up quickly. Structure stolen from Unke. Some content from Wikipedia.