Aparajito (1956)


Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBB

India, 1956.  .  Screenplay by Satyajit Ray, based on the novel by .  Cinematography by .  Produced by Satyajit Ray.  Music by .  Production Design by .  Film Editing by .

Satyajit Ray’s Apu trilogy continues after Pather Panchali with the further adventures of his delightful young hero. Now an adolescent, Apu is living with his parents in Benares when a sudden illness takes his father and his mother is responsible for earning a living. She begins work as a maid, but soon gives that up to go live with a relative in their ancestral village who will take care of the two of them.

Longing to better himself through education, Apu makes off for Calcutta to study and work, getting a job at a printing press. The days and nights of toil are difficult for him, while the distance from her son has a terrible effect on his mother, who wishes he would visit more. Ray’s delicate touch and beautiful sensibilities are well on display here, deepening the tragedies of his previous film by examining the vulnerabilities of familial relationships.

The ambivalence of Apu’s mother Sarbojaya, who wants her son to succeed but after experiencing so much loss can’t help but demand validation from him, is painfully contrasted with Apu’s adolescent need to break free on his own while feeling tormented about leaving his mother alone.    It’s an exquisite film that fans of this leader in world cinema will greatly enjoy.

The Criterion Collection:  #784

Venice Film Festival Award: Golden Lion

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