Pather Panchali (film)

Pather Panchali (film)

] wrote in a scathing review of the film, "Any picture as loose in structure or as listless in tempo as this one is would barely pass as a "rough cut" with the editors in Hollywood."cite news|url=|title=Screen: Exotic Import; Pather Panchali' From India Opens Here |last=Crowther|first=Bosley|date=23 September 1958|accessdate=2008-05-18|work=The New York Times|publisher=The New York Times Company (Free Registration required)] "The Harvard Crimson" wrote, "Many of the fragmented episodes are effective, but many others have little to add to the general effect. The disconnection itself has its purpose, and gives an all-inclusive quality to the film; yet it is also distracting and contributes to the film's great weakness: its general diffuseness, its inability to command sustained attention. For "Pather Panchali", remarkable as it may be, is something of a chore to sit through."cite news|url=|title=Pather Panchali|last=Quint|first=Peter E.|date=2 November 1959|accessdate=2008-05-25|work=The Harvard Crimson|publisher=The Harvard Crimson, Inc] Early in 1980, Ray was openly criticised by an Indian Member of Parliament and former actress Nargis Dutt, who accused Ray of "exporting poverty". [Harvnb|Robinson|2003|pp=327–328] While many critics celebrated "Pather Panchali" as an eulogy of third world culture, others criticised it for what they took to be romanticisation of such a culture.Harvnb|Cooper|2000|p=2]

Twenty years after the release of "Pather Panchali", Akira Kurosawa summarised the magic of the film as follows, "I can never forget the excitement in my mind after seeing it. I have had several more opportunities to see the film since then and each time I feel more overwhelmed. It is the kind of cinema that flows with the serenity and nobility of a big river... People are born, live out their lives, and then accept their deaths. Without the least effort and without any sudden jerks, Ray paints his picture, but its effect on the audience is to stir up deep passions. How does he achieve this? There is nothing irrelevant or haphazard in his cinematographic technique. In that lies the secret of its excellence." Harvnb|Robinson|2003|p=91]

"Pather Panchali" won multiple national and international awards. It won President's Gold and Silver medals in New Delhi in 1955. 1956 Cannes film festival awarded the film with the special prize of "Best Human Document".cite web|url=|title=Awards for Satyajit Ray|accessdate=2008-05-18|work= Ray Film and Study Collection|publisher= University of California — Santa Cruz] In the same year, "Pather Panchali" won Indian National Film Award for Best Film, Diploma of Merit at the Edinburgh International Film Festival, "Vatican Award" at Rome, and "Golden Carbao" at Manila. In 1957, the film won the awards for the best film and best direction in San Francisco International Film Festival, and "Selznik Golden Laurel" in Berlin. 1958 saw the film win two Canadian awards—Best film at Vancouver and "Critics' Award: Best Film" at Stratford Film Festival.cite news| url=|title=Indian Film Honored; 'Pather Panchali' Wins Prize at Stratford, Ont., Fete|page=16|date=14 July 1958|accessdate=2008-05-24|work=New York Times] National Board of Review of Motion Pictures in New York selected the film as "Best Foreign Film" in 1959. As late as 1967, "Pather Panchali" won "Kinema Junpo Award: Best Foreign Film" in Tokyo. [cite web|url=|title=Kinema Junpo Awards (1967) page from IMDb|accessdate=2008-05-19] It won "" from Denmark in 1969. [cite web|url=|title=Bodilprisen (1960-69)|publisher=Filmmedarbejderforeningen|accessdate=2008-05-19 Da icon]


"Pather Panchali" was followed by two films that continued the tale of Apu's life—"Aparajito" ("The Unvanquished") in 1956 and "Apur Sansar" ("The World of Apu") in 1959. The three films are together known as the Apu trilogy. "Aparajito" portrays the adolescent Apu, his education in the rural school and in a Calcutta college. The central theme in "Aparajito" is the poignant relation between a doting mother and her young ambitious boy. "Apur Sansar" tells the story of the brief family life of Apu, his reaction at the premature death of his wife, and finally bonding with his son whom he left as an infant. Both the two sequels won multiple national and international awards.cite web|url=|title=Awards for Films|accessdate=2008-05-19|work=About Ray|] Ray did not have any specific plan to make a trilogy from the start. Indeed, he planned to make the third installment only after being asked about the possibility of a trilogy at the 1957 Venice Film Festival, [Harvnb|Wood|1972|p=61] where "Aparajito" won the Golden Lion award.

"Pather Panchali" ushered in a new tradition of film-making in India, one in which authenticity and social realism were key themes,cite news|url=|title=Sense & Cinema|last=Likhi|first=Abhilaksh|date=15 August 1999|work=The Tribune|publisher=The Tribune Trust|accessdate=2008-05-18] breaking the rule of the Indian film establishment of the time.cite journal
last = Das Gupta | first = Chidananda | authorlink = Chidananda Dasgupta | year = 1980 | month = Autumn | title = New Directions in Indian Cinema | journal = Film Quarterly | volume = 34 | issue = 1 | pages = 32–42 | publisher = University of California Press
issn = 0015-1386|oclc=1569205
doi = 10.1525/fq.1980.34.1.04a00070
] Although described as a turning point in Indian cinema,cite news|url=|title=Ray's eternal song| last=Bhaskaran|first=Gautaman|work=The Hindu|date=5 September 2004|accessdate=2008-05-18] some commentators opined that "Pather Panchali" did not usher in a modern age in Indian cinema. Rather, the film refined an already existent "realist textual principle" in Indian cinema. In 1963, "Time" noted that thanks to "Pather Panchali", Satyajit Ray was one of the "hardy little band of inspired pioneers" of a new cinematic movement that was enjoying a good number of imitators worldwide.cite web|url=,9171,870556-1,00.html|title=A Religion of Film|date=20 September 1963|accessdate=2008-05-18|work=Time|publisher=Time Inc] The film has since been considered as a "global landmark" and "among the essential moviegoing experiences". [cite web|url=|title=New on DVD|last=Clark|first=Mike|work=USA Today|date=30 October 2003|accessdate=2008-05-18|publisher=Gannett Co. Inc] The film was included in the 1992 edition of the top 10 Critics' Poll list of "Sight & Sound", the British Film Institute's film magazine.cite web|url=|title=The Sight & Sound Top Ten Poll: 1992|work=Sight & Sound|publisher=British Film Institute|accessdate=2008-05-20] "The Village Voice" ranked the film at #12 (tied with "The Godfather") in its Top 250 "Best Films of the Century" list in 1999, based on a poll of critics. [cite web|url= |title=Take One: The First Annual Village Voice Film Critics' Poll |accessdate=2006-07-27|date=1999 |publisher="The Village Voice"|archiveurl=|archivedate= 2007-08-26] In 2005, The Apu Trilogy was included in Time magazine's All-time 100 greatest movies list. [cite web|url=|title=All-time 100 Movies|year=2005|accessdate=2008-05-19|work=Time|publisher=Time Inc]

Following "Pather Panchali", Satyajit Ray went on to make a total of thirty-seven films, including feature films, documentaries and shorts. His works included scripting, casting, scoring, cinematography, art direction, editing and designing his own credit titles and publicity material. He developed a distinctive style of film-making, with visual lyricism and strong humanism forming the basis of his works, [Harvnb|Gokulsing|Dissanayake|2004|p=32] cite web|url=|title=Satyajit Ray|last=Goristas|first=Helen|publisher=Senses of Cinema|accessdate=2008-05-19] as in his debut film "Pather Panchali". Consequently Ray established himself as an auteur of cinema.Harvnb|Santas|2002|p=18]



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External links

* [ "Pather Panchali" at]
* [ "Pather Panchali" at Ray Film and Study Collection University of California - Santa Cruz]
* [ New York Times Review of "Pather Panchali"]
* [ "Pather Panchali": program note from 1957 San Francisco International Film Festival on line]

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