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Carl Theodor Dreyer
Emil Hass Christensen,
Preben Lerdorff Rye
Sometime in the early years of the century, a boy, Apu, is born to a poor Brahmin family in a village in Bengal. The father, a poet and priest, cannot earn enough to keep his family going. Apu's sister, Durga, is forever stealing guavas from the neighbour's orchards. All these add to the daily struggles of the mother's life, notwithstanding her constant bickering with old aunt who lives with the family. Written by
L.H. Wong <email@example.com>
There is this one scene in Satyajit Ray's Pather Panchali when the eruption of a conflict between Apu's family and a quarrelsome neighbour brought the film to a complete standstill (for me anyway). Those few characters' state of mind and their relationship dynamics at that point in time, was conveyed with such explosive intensity, I got gut punched drunk.
Pather Panchali boasts of suitably melodramatic yet highly intuitive performances. Its breath taking cinematography ranks alongside existential beauty this side of Malick heaven. The musical scoring, by the great Ravi Shankar, is identifiably Indian, yet universally sublime. Together, these myriad parts melded into a whole so grand in its social consciousness, so incisively intimate in its portrait of one family, I could do nothing but be slowly devoured like a most willing prey.
On 4th Oct 2003, I saw my all time favourite film, Tokyo Story. The feeling I got today from Pather Panchali, is as close as is possible from that fateful October day.
Pather Panchali is one of the best films I have ever seen. This will be a night to remember. Now on with the other two then.
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