Special Pages | Satyajit Ray’s The Apu Trilogy Supplemental Readings

In preparation for our Apu trilogy screenings, we’ve compiled a selection of articles and reviews about the trilogy as well as the individual films themselves.   

National Review’s Armond White reflects on Satyajit Ray’s honorary Oscar, particularly for his work on the Apu Trilogy. Armond states that the trilogy offer “little reminders of humanity” that allow the films to work both individually and as a whole.

NY Times’ Andrew Robinson discusses the production and historical context behind Ray’s making of the Apu Trilogy. In hindsight to the films’ re-releases and restorations, Robinson discusses how the films gave India a cinematic presence that still lasts effectively today.

NY Times’ Bosley Crowther reviews PATHER PANCHALI shortly after its release. Crowther commends the film’s image of domesticity paired with poverty. He notes that despite the film’s subtle, at times lackluster editing, the final product has “the substance of a tender threnody” despite its stillness.

Variety reviews PATHER PANCHALI at the time of its release, shortly after it earned the “most human document award” at Cannes. The review examines the film’s representation of old age and perspective India to a Western audience.

San Francisco Chronicle’s Eric Guthmann outlines some of Ray’s inspirations for APARAJITO, including autobiographical viewpoints and the interpretation of the book he’s adapted. Gutmann highlights the film’s dynamics between mother and son and the young desire of education.

ReelView’s James Berardinelli promotes the film’s “universal truths” in sectors like domesticity, parenthood, and the avoidance of emotional changes on the way to adulthood. Berardinelli insists that APARAJITO is a solid continuation of the trilogy’s first film, resonating the same sort of “sublime emotion” as PATHER PANCHALI.

Reel Talk Reviews’ Donald Levit discusses the trilogy as a staple to Indian culture on film, to the same effect of directors like Kurosawa with Japan. Following the trilogy’s restoration and release, Levit emphasizes the journey the films take to show the protagonist “facing up to life [and] not turning his back on humanity.”

Jaran Stallbaum Written by: