Join SAJA for a webcast about the films of Satyajit Ray...
Discuss the work of Satyajit Ray, one of the most influential directors of all time, with Richard Pena, one of the leading film scholars of our time. From the legendary Apu trilogy — Ray’s groundbreaking debut saga that influences filmmakers to this day — he is widely considered India’s greatest filmmaker. Pena, who is the Program Director of the Film Society of Lincoln Center, will talk about Ray and the program Pena has curated, April 15-30 at the Walter Reader Theater, "First Light: Satyajit Ray from the Apu Trilogy to the Calcutta Trilogy."
MODERATOR: Aseem Chhabra, SAJA board member and entertainment writer
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
11 am-noon ET (see local time around the world: http://bit.ly/2y4xfR)
Listen live or to a recording here:
or call into (347) 324-5991
Post your comments/questions below or send them to saja[at]columbia.edu
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For any art-film fanatic, Satyajit Ray's name represents an era of fine filmmaking and successful storytelling.
The same era, via Ray's films will now be relived at the film series at the Walter Reade Theater, Lincoln Center, beginning April 15, 2009.
According to the Film Society of Lincoln Center's Web site, the film series is being presented by FSLC and Columbia University in collaboration with the Satyajit Ray Film and Study Center at the University of California-Santa Cruz and the Satyajit Ray Preservation Project at the Academy Film Archive in Los Angeles.
The series will feature Ray’s cinema from the first half of his career, which started in 1955 with the movie “Pather Panchali.”
From his directorial debut in 1955 to 1966, Ray had written and directed 13 films including “Aparajito” and “Apur Sansar (The World of Apu),” which are a part of the "Apu Triology."
“First Light: Satyajit Ray From the Apu Trilogy to the Calcutta Trilogy” runs through April 30.
Ray won the Golden Lion in Venice for “Aparajito.”
The series titled “First Light: Satyajit Ray From the Apu Trilogy to the Calcutta Trilogy” will have Ray’s finest works such as “Charulata” (1964), “Devi” (1960) and “Kanchenjungha” (1962), Ray’s first color movie as well as a movie with an original screenplay.
Ray’s movies resonate with realism and connect to an ordinary person’s life. From the superstitious Hindu society in "Devi" to the story of a lonely wife, "Charulata," who falls for her brother-in-law and the middle-class family in “Mahanagar” (1963), the movies show and tell all.
From The NYT:
He’s more at home with situations like that of the struggling middle-class family of “Mahanagar” (1963), who have just a bit less income than they require and therefore have to make awkward choices: in this case, the wife (again, Ms. Mukherjee) takes a job, and she discovers that the world outside the home is both more exciting than the world within and much uglier.
“Mahanagar” has a happy ending, of a highly ambiguous sort. By the time Ray made “The Adversary” (1971) — the first of what has come to be called the Calcutta Trilogy, though the plots and characters of the three films are unrelated — the economic and political landscape of India had darkened considerably. He had to watch even more closely, and more coldly, to understand this changing world.
The protagonist of “The Adversary” is a recent university graduate who can’t find a job and is briefly tempted by violent revolution. The second film, “Company Limited” (1971), is perhaps Ray’s chilliest, bleakest vision of his society, the story of a rising young executive who squirms out of a potentially promotion-killing crisis by devious, dangerous means. He gets the promotion, but there’s a pesky observer in this film, too: his quiet, intelligent sister-in-law, with whom he is slightly in love and who knows, in the end, exactly what he has done in the name of success.
Somnath Bannerjee (Pradip Mukherjee), the hero of the third film, “The Middleman” (1975), is the most interesting and the most tragic, because he embodies aspects of both his predecessors: unemployed for the first half of the film, and in the second half beginning to succeed as an independent operator in what his mentor calls the “order-supply” business. The term for his position as a commercial middleman is dalaal, which in Bengali can also mean pimp. He isn’t a villain — hardly any of Ray’s characters are — but he is, as so many in these films are, a young man who lacks the courage to fail in the eyes of the world.
Born on May 2, 1921, in Calcutta, Ray directed 37 films during his career. He died April 23, 1992.
Apart from the film series, there will also be a conference at Columbia University on April 25 to discuss on Ray's movies.
From Columbia's Web site:
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