Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.5.
Original title: Aranyer Din Ratri
India, 1970. Priya Films. Screenplay by Satyajit Ray, based on a story by Sunil Gangopadhyay. Cinematography by Soumendu Roy. Produced by Asim Dutta, Nepal Dutta. Music by Satyajit Ray. Production Design by Bansi Chandragupta. Costume Design by Haru Das. Film Editing by Dulal Dutta.
Four friends leave the busy city and head into the woods for a break, putting up at a local conservation resort despite the fact that they have not requested permission from the district head to do so. In exploring their surroundings, they come across a family staying at their vacation home, numbering among them two lovely young women with whom our fellows are instantly enraptured. Satyajit Ray’s contemplation of gender relations among people entering the second bloom of their youth is a subtle, delicately emotional comedy of manners that isn’t always thoroughly captivating but is definitely worth a glimpse. As always with his films, the photography is gorgeous (no one could make the most of black and white outside of a Hollywood studio like Ray could), but, unusually for him, the characters’ simplicity is not as deceptive as it usually is: the men occupy stereotypes that they embody but never fully break out of. Still, it’s a highly enjoyable work.