For Reel

The World of Apu (1959)
June 17, 2015, 10:39 pm
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: Satyajit Ray
5 Stars
The World of ApuPart of the greatness of Satyajit Ray’s Apu trilogy is the evolution of the form of each film. As Apu ages, the devices used to tell his story also change. The most immediate difference is that the deaths of the previous installments have left Apu (Soumitra Chatterjee) alone, thereby placing the focus on an individual rather than a family. Apu is now free from the burdens of familial responsibilities, yet ironically he finds himself at his most isolated–the cramped apartment is an even more limiting environment than the village of Pather Panchali. Furthermore, whereas Ray and cinematographer Subrata Mitra attempted to evoke something transcendental in their presentation of nature in earlier installments–consider, for example, the extended shots of insects gliding on water and the dragonflies of Pather PanchaliThe World of Apu is very much removed from the poetics of the natural world in its early-goings. But it also beautifully weaves together the two films that preceded it, suggesting the cyclical nature of the story and how each experience has shaped the man he has become. Ray’s focus on tragedy throughout the trilogy suggests that loss is what makes growing up beautiful, and that only through suffering can one reach their potential.

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