Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.
Original title: Devi
India, 1960. Screenplay by Satyajit Ray, based on the story by Prabhat Kumar Mukherjee. Cinematography by Subrata Mitra. Produced by Satyajit Ray. Music by Ali Akbar Khan. Production Design by Bansi Chandragupta. Film Editing by Dulal Dutta. Cannes Film Festival 1962.
One of Satyajit Ray’s more playful and capricious films, but still possessing the emotional resonance of his best work. A young woman lives with her husband’s family while her spouse studies abroad, her life changed completely on the night that her father-in-law wakes up from a dream and tells everyone that he has seen a vision: his daughter-in-law is the goddess Kali incarnated in the flesh, which makes this unassuming girl a cause celebre in no time. Ray gets some good fun out of gently poking at superstition and religious fervor without ever being judgmental about it, then goes deep as the film moves towards a finale that sees the devastating consequences for all involved when practical reality is ignored in favour of blind zeal. Plus it’s stylish and perfectly acted, a real class act of a film.