Pather Panchali (1955)

Pather Panchali (1955)
8.6
  • 22582
  • Not Rated
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release year: 1955 ()
  • Running time: 125 min
  • Original Title: Pather Panchali
  • Voted: 22582

The story of a young boy, Apu, and life in his small Indian village. His parents are quite poor - his father Harihar, a writer and poet, gave away the family's fruit orchard to settle his brother's debts. His sister Durga and an old aunt also still lives with them. His mother Sarbojaya bears the brunt of the family's situation. She scrapes by and sells her personal possessions to put food on the table and has to bear the taunts of her neighbors as Durga is always stealing fruit from their orchard. Things get worse when Harihar disappears for five months and Durga falls ill. Even after Harihar returns, the family is left with few alternatives.

#PersonCharacters
1Kanu BannerjeeHarihar Ray
2Karuna BannerjeeSarbojaya Ray
3Subir BanerjeeApu Ray
4Chunibala DeviIndir Thakrun
  • A Magnificent Movie! by 10

    I don't know how even 6.4% of the female voters could have given this movie a 2!!!!! This was Ray's first movie, but his economy of dialog, his synchronization and sympathy with India's rural life is incredible. So little said, yet so much! Apu and Durga following the sweetmeat seller, the scene where they run through a "kash" field....superb, the work of a real artist, a master. The film develops its characters and the atmosphere slowly and resolutely. The narrative builds up to a powerful climax. Ray had an ancient camera while shooting this movie, did it matter? No. His expression and technique was more than sound, although this was a maiden venture.

    Some critics found(and still find, I might add) the film to be too slow. Satyajit Ray wrote about the slow pace - "The cinematic material dictated a style to me, a very slow rhythm determined by nature, the landscape, the country. The script had to retain some of the rambling quality of the novel because that in itself contained a clue to the authenticity: life in a poor Bengali village does ramble."

    There you are, if you have not watched this movie, you'll probably missed the greatest movie made on Indian rural life. That's why Akira Kurosawa said of him:"To have not seen the films of Ray is to have lived in the world without ever having seen the moon and the sun"

  • Absolutely Perfect. One of the best films ever made. 10/10 by 10

    It is a little known fact that India produces more films per year than any other country. The reason that most people don't know that is because their films do not generally appeal to us, and we would see them as oddities suspended in their own culture. Possibly they'd be amusing or interesting to watch, but they would probably be hard to enjoy (to demonstrate the difference in taste, Roger Ebert attended an Indian film festival a year or two ago, and when he questioned its director what American film did the best business over there, he answered that the movie _Baby's Day Out_, which is basically like one of those Popeye cartoons where Sweet-Pea wanders through construction sights blindly, except extended to 90 minutes, had theaters packed in India all throughout its run; the film bombed completely in the US). Tastes differ. Humanity does not. This is proved to the utmost in Ray's masterful _Pather Panchali_.

    This film has got to be the best ever made about, well, life in general. It reminded me a lot of a Chinese film, Zhang Yimou's _To Live_, which was good, but its situations finally seemed a bit contrived. _Pather Panchali_ feels as real as life itself. To be sure, it contains great moments of sadness, but, for the most part, it concentrates on the beauty of the world around us. One of the major characters is this ancient woman, maybe even in her nineties. She is hunched over, has no teeth, and has crooked eyes. But Ray makes her form beautiful. He often finds characters with exaggerated and odd features. And there is nothing more beautiful in this world than the love between members of a family, and Ray revels in this. The relationship between the brother and sister is heartstoppingly beautiful.

    I could not say anything bad about this film. But there is one thing I would like to see: a DVD version of this film, and indeed of each of the films of the Apu Trilogy, and only Criterion could do this effectively, which is kind of disappointing, since I know a major film company already owns its rights and would probably never give them up without huge pay; a DVD version with scholarly commentary. Hindu symbology is present in a large quantity in this film, along with several Hindi ceremonies. Of course, I loved seeing this. I am not completely unfamiliar with the culture, so I was able to catch a little, but there is so much I don't know. A commentary track on a DVD would help me understand the film better, and thus love it even more.

  • What a story! by 9

    I have just finished Pather Panchali. To be honest, it took almost two weeks to watch it. Not only interruptions, but the shear poverty of the individuals--the family--is overwhelming. Each member exhibits their poverty and destitution in a different way. My favorite character is Durga, who gives and gives until she reaches the point where she is tired of not receiving.

    I will forever remember this movie, and I hope to watch the other two parts of the trilogy.

    I have to have this film in my collection. Movies that make you think and think again, and search your heart for answers that sometimes never come.

  • One of the best by 10

    The film is certainly a masterpiece. The film is overwhelmingly real and the key element in the movie is the maintenance of this realism. The characters are so true to the ethnic rural-sixties Indian existence that one is compelled to wonder if the film was captured through surveillance cameras.

    Pather Panchali, released in 1955, is the first film of director Satyajit Ray's Apu trilogy. The film is a serene and beautiful depiction of a little boy's childhood in the Indian countryside in the 1950s.The film was made on a shoestring budget by a hitherto unknown director. Apart from a seventy-year-old woman who made her name in the 1930s on the stage, none of the cast had ever acted before and many had been plucked from the Indian rurality. In contrast Satyajit Ray completed the trilogy on the behest of the Indian Prime Minister, pointing to the film's cultural impact.

    It's a quiet, simple tale, centering on the life of a small family living in a rural village in Bengal. The father, Harihar (Kanu Bannerjee), is a priest and poet who cares more about his writing and spiritual welfare than obtaining wages he is owed. The mother, Sarbojaya (Karuna Bannerjee), worries that her husband's financial laxity will leave her without enough food for her two children, daughter Durga (Uma Das Gupta) and son Apu (Subir Bannerjee). Harihar's family often lives on the edge of poverty, coping with the unkind taunts of their neighbors, the burden of caring for an aging aunt (Chunibala Devi), and the terrible aftermath of a natural catastrophe.

    Most of what transpires is shown through the eyes of either Sarbojaya or Durga, and, as a result, we identify most closely with these two. Harihar is absent for more than half of the movie, and, before the penultimate scene, Apu is a mere witness to events, rather than a participant. Until the closing moments, we don't get a sense of the young boy as a fully formed individual, since he's always in someone else's shadow.

    The simple story of the Bengali family will definitely stay in my heart for a long time to come. If you haven't seen it yet, what are you waiting for?........

  • As good as remembered... by 10

    I originally saw the Apu trilogy in 1961 in a little theater in Berkley. Sat through a straight showing of all three films and walked out after six hours in awe. It was a defining day in the development of an avid film buff. I have waited three years for the DVDs to be released, and hoped against hope that Criterion would get the rights, but it was not to be. Sony has released an unadorned, Mirchant and Ivory Foundation restoration: but they are finally available. I bought all three of the Trilogy the day they were released, but have been reluctant to put them on. So many of my memories of "great" films have made me wonder what I was on when I saw it to think that was great. Think "Brewster McCloud." My experience of Pather Panchali and the full trilogy was a memory I didn't want diminished in any way. Tonight I came home from work, put the Pather Panchali in and sat totally rapt for the full two hours. The DVD production values and the print quality are really bad in spots, but all that fades as one of the really great art films takes over, and the immersion in the lives behind the film works its magic. Film doesn't have to be an act of corporate commerce: Pather Panchali is living proof that film can be a medium of great art.

#PersonCrew
1Subrata Mitracinematographer
2Ravi Shankarcomposer
3Satyajit Raydirector
4Dulal Duttaeditor
5Bansi Chandraguptaproduction_designer
6Bibhutibhushan Bandyopadhyaywriter