Director: Satyajit Ray
Second installment of “The Apu Trilogy”, Aparajito begins where the previous one ended, with the arrival of the Ray family in Varanasi, looking for a new life. The tumultuous city contrasts with the small native village of the protagonist’s childhood: labyrinthine alleys that lead to the enormous steps that form the banks of a Ganges crowded with merchants, bathers, priests, parishioners and all kinds of characters who make the sacred river the center of their lives. With loss and knowledge as inexorable elements in the process of personal growth of every human being, Aparajito swings between these two ideas to portray the passage to maturity of its protagonist, but also the sacrifice of the mother’s character, who must renounce Apu’s company when he asks her to continue her studies in Calcutta.
Satyajit Ray was born in Calcutta in 1921. Son of Sukumar Ray, one of the leading figures of the Bengali literary scene, in 1940 he graduated in economics from the University of Calcutta and went to work as an illustrator at Tagore University in Viswa-Bharati. He made his directorial debut in 1955 with the eponymous adaptation of the 1928 novel Pather Panchali (“Song of the Road”), which began his trilogy on the life of the young Apu, followed by Aparajito (“The Invincible”, 1956) and Apur Sansar (“Apu’s World”, 1959). This was the basis for the rise of his reputation as one of the country’s best filmmakers. In addition to being a director, he was a screenwriter, composer of the soundtrack, editor and designer of the credits and publicity material for his films. Throughout his extensive film career, Ray received as many as 36 Indian National Film Awards, a Golden Lion, two Silver Bears, as well as the Bharat Ratna, India’s most prestigious civilian award. Almost a month before his death, he became the first Indian to receive an Honorary Oscar in 1992.