Director: Satyajit Ray
First installment of “The Apu Trilogy”, a wonderful triptych full of poetry, realism and humanism, Pather Panchali tells the story of a Brahmin family struggling to survive in the unfortunate rural Bengali context. The father, Harihara, is a secular priest, healer, dreamer and poet. Sabajaya, the mother, works to feed her family, which receives with joy and hope the arrival of a new son, Apu, the driving force of the story and perfect metaphor of what life is like for the less fortunate. With this adaptation of a classic Bildungsroman of Indian literature, which took more than three years to shoot, Satyajit Ray debuted as a genius of Indian and international cinema, influenced by figures such as Renoir and De Sica.
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.