Aparajito (Satyajit Ray, 1956)

Aparajito is the simple story of an Indian family of the region of Bengal. The father felt ill because of his overwork, and dies a while after. He let behind him a wife and a son, Apu. As in many families where the husband dies or the mother is divorced, the son becomes the remplacement of his father in the mind of the mother. This is a natural reaction to an emptiness caused by a lost.

Later, Apu is in his teenage years and he goes to school in Calcutta away from his dear mother. Once again, the mother suffers from the lost of his male figure. On one side she wants the best for her son; a good education and a good future. But, on the other side she wants him on her side as much as he can.

The second chapter of the Apu triology by Satyajit Ray, tells the story of many families but especially the life of its auteur; Ray himself. Family is a universal theme but in this depiction of India, it is very specific to its country and reflects for outsiders like me, how people lived in India in the 1920's. We have shots of the Gange, the classrooms, the family home, the relations between the mother, the father, and the son. The talent of Satyajit Ray is realism, his images are raw and real and his mastery of Cinema is impressive for an Occidental point of view. The way he shot his film is near the documentary and it gives a sense of palpable moviemaking. Ray presented to the world his culture, his country, and his art and he put it by himself in front of the big Hollywood machine, the european auteurs, etc. A country that didn't had the reputation to offer masterpieces had his master: Satyajit Ray for India. I read somewhere that what Ray did to India is comparable has what John Ford did to the American heritage. I think it's not pretentious to support this affirmation.

World Cinema diserves much more praised than it actually has and I will review much more of Satyajit Ray's films in the montrhs to come.

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