THE APU TRILOGY
India, 1955, 122 minutes, Black and white.
India , 1956, 110 minutes, Black and white.
THE WORLD OF APU
India, 1959, 117 minutes, Black and white.
Directed by Satyajit Ray.
Pather Panchali (Song of the Road), Aparajito (Unvanquished) and The World of Apu are Satyahit Ray’s famous 1950s trilogy. The film focuses on a young boy born at the beginning of the 20th century into a poor Brahman family in a remote village in Bengal.
The first film focuses on life in the village, the absence of his poet father, the struggles of his mother, the details of daily life. In the second film, the boy grows up and he and his mother move at first to the city and then to another town in the countryside. In the final film, after Apu has finished his school and won acceptance to a university, he goes to study but is not successful. At the invitation of a friend, he goes to a village wedding but, when the husband suddenly dies, he is persuaded to marry the young woman. They move to the city, his wife dies in childbirth, something which he cannot accept. Abandoning the child to his wife’s family, he goes away in meditation, finally recovering himself and returning to his child.
The film is based on novels by Bivhutibhushan Bandyopadhyay.
Satyajit Ray is still the greatest world director to emerge from India. His style is obviously the opposite of that of the popular Bollywood films and the general fare that is produced in India in every year. However, the film industry in Bengal tends to take themes far more seriously, presenting aspects of ordinary daily life (sometimes punctuated with songs). Ray continued to work from the 50s until the 90s producing a great number of classic films and influencing the next generations of Indian directors.
1.A film from India, the 1950s? Satyajit Ray and his pioneering of film styles? His drawing on Indian stories and heritage? The land and its people? Creating characters from the land?
2.The cinema style of Ray, the range of his work? The impact of this trilogy in its time? Later?
3.The realistic black and white photography? The details of the village, the environment? A poetic portrait of the village, the characters? Editing and the compositions of shots? The visual beauty? The score?
4.The village, in its period? Style of life? wealth and poverty? The homes, the family and the neighbours? Relationships and rivalries? Problems with food, water, work? The children and their growing up in this context? Aged people and their influence on the children? Religious themes? The seasons, disasters, floods? Hopes? Themes of birth and death?
5.The picture of the family, the aunt and her presence, age? The sister? Durga? (K?) The visits, the absences, the issues of food?
6.The husband and wife, love for each other, work, the father and his poetic bent? The children and their growing up? His going away? the children at home, playing, the detail, the bonds?
7.Durga, stances, stealing, causing trouble? The necklace? Apu’s hiding it and throwing it? The girls in the village? Apu and his mother? His aunt? The death?
8.The birth of Apu, his mother’s pregnancy, the birth, his growing up, playing, hopes, plans? The influence of Durga?
9.The neighbours, rivalry, help in need?
10.The move to the city? The absent father? The pathos of the wife and child longing for news of the father? His attitude when he came back?
11.The move to the next film in the trilogy?
1.The Indian film industry, the role of Satyajit Ray, his influence? Heritage, land, the people, characters?
2.Satyajit Ray’s career, the film as part of his 1950s trilogy? His continuing with themes of Indian life and history?
3.The black and white photography, the editing? The city and the streets, the buildings, the university? The river? The contrast with the Indian countryside? The contrast between Benares and Calcutta?
4.The city in the 1920s and 1930s? The English tradition, the Indian tradition? The buildings, the steps, the sacred river? The significance of water and the river? Sacred? Homes, lifestyles? Needs? The country homes? Communication and travel by train? The building of schools and universities? The musical score?
5.The portrait of the father: his hopes, work, being away, sense of the sacred, his illness, the water, his death?
6.The portrait of the mother, knowledge of her from the previous film? Her love for Apu? Going to the city, work, hopes, the need for money? Apu and his relationship with his mother? Special? The death of the father? Going to the countryside? Apu and his going to school, the scholarship, growing away from his mother? Her trying to cope? The university, its hold over him? His moods, the letters? His return, the clashes? The plaintive aspects of his bewilderment and experience? His return from the train? The death and sadness?
7.Apu in the city, his life, age, as a child, observing life, his father, the need for water, his death? Loving his mother but growing away from her? The countryside, the victuals? Going to school, success, interest? The role of the headmaster and influence? Getting the scholarship? His mother’s view? Going to the university? Work, the printer? Being tired? The lectures, his reading, learning, the exams? Returning but staying away? Letters to his mother? Theatre pathos of his mother’s death and her feeling his absence?
8.The portrait of life in the city, support for his father, the countryside?
9.Themes of Indian education, availability, possibilities, school and university? Classes and lectures? Study and reading?
10.The city, Apu’s work, the printing press? His friends? The glimpse of Apu’s growth, his selfishness yet his wisdom? The preparation for the rhird part of the trilogy?