Pather Panchali

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Overview

The first film in Satyajit Ray's legendary Apu trilogy comes to disc in this spartan if crisp presentation from Columbia. Pather Panchali is presented in its original full-screen black-and-white image, with selectable English subtitling. Other than menus and scene selection, there are few features to distinguish the disc.
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Overview

The first film in Satyajit Ray's legendary Apu trilogy comes to disc in this spartan if crisp presentation from Columbia. Pather Panchali is presented in its original full-screen black-and-white image, with selectable English subtitling. Other than menus and scene selection, there are few features to distinguish the disc.
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Special Features

[None specified]
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Tom Wiener
Amazingly, filmmaker Satyajit Ray's debut feature was not universally acclaimed on its initial release. But the critics and historians who did champion it have been more than justified in their praise for Ray's poetic yet naturalistic look at a family living in rural poverty. The father is a dreamer but hardly a schemer; the mother is hard-headed about an elderly and sickly aunt but loving to her children. The daughter, on the cusp of adolescence, wants desperately to have friends but is resentful of the good fortune of others, and the son observes all of the events with unreserved innocence. Ray's camera focuses on simple images from nature or facial expressions that speak volumes; the dialogue in this film seems almost superfluous. In the film's most wrenching sequence, the mother spends a sleepless night caring for a sick child while a storm threatens her flimsy curtains and splintered door; the imagery is worthy of silent masters such as D.W. Griffith or F.W. Murnau. The story that continues with the final two films in the Apu Trilogy is among the great achievements in all of movie history.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 10/28/2003
  • UPC: 043396018181
  • Original Release: 1955
  • Rating:

  • Source: Sony Pictures
  • Region Code: 1
  • Aspect Ratio: Pre-1954 Standard (1.33.1)
  • Presentation: Black & White
  • Sound: Dolby Digital
  • Time: 2:06:00
  • Format: DVD

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Runki Banerji Durga as a child
Kanu Banerji Harihar the Father
Subir Banerji Apu
Karuna Bannerjee Sarbojaya Ray
Umas Das Gupta Durga as a young girl
Haren Bannerjee
Chunibala Devi Indirtharkun the old aunt
Tulshi Chakraborty Prasanna, Schoolmaster
Reva Devi Mrs. Mookerji
Rama Gangopadhaya Ranu Mookerji
Harimoran Nag Doctor
Technical Credits
Satyajit Ray Director, Producer, Screenwriter
Bansi Chandragupta Art Director
Dulal Dutta Editor
Government of West Bengal Producer
Subrata Mitra Cinematographer
Ravi Shankar Score Composer
Pandit Ravi Shankar Score Composer
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Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. Start [3:12]
2. Durga [17:45]
3. Apu [12:50]
4. The Candy Man [8:17]
5. "Durga Stole Tunu's Bread Necklace" [7:47]
6. Bedtime Stories [15:26]
7. An Evening's Entertainment [9:31]
8. Modern Times [4:06]
9. The Day Is Done [6:31]
10. Bad News [17:01]
11. A Terrible Loss [2:36]
12. Moving to Benares [13:22]
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Menu

Side #1 --
   Scene Selection
   Play Movie
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Pather Panchali: Cinematic Masterpiece

    This movie is flawless. One of the world's greatest directors, Satyajit Ray, made his debut with a film that, produced in the 50's in India, still has stunning impact. Indeed, while many, for reasons good and bad, often shy away from black and white films, not only for the lack of color, but the often dated style, whether Western or Eastern. Pather Panchali (Songs of the Road) transcends both cultural and time-based boundaries. The cinematography is seemingly simple, but loaded with depth. The panning is masterful, and Ray's eclectic mix of lush Bengali (it's NOT Bengalese!) countryside with Ravi Shankar's gorgeous musical interludes serves to truly bring out a grand variety of emotions. It is hard to imagine how Ray managed to cull, from the vast crow, so immaculate an cast. Like Hitchcock, but even more so, Ray chose men, women and children who so brilliantly capture the role that one truly forgets that this is film, and not an actual record of past events. It remains extremely true to the ethos of the traditional Bengali village. Being a Bengali, he was able to wonderfully represent the different idioms that run through the daily lives of these people, from their poverty to their religious faith that keeps them going, and the rich culture that permeates their times of joy and sorrow. If one is not familiar with Bengali or the Indian and Hindu paradigms, then one should take care to note the depth of symbolism. Just one example, to avoid length: Durga is a Hindu goddess, one of the primary forms of the Divine mother, the feminine principle of the cosmos, manifested in other such forms as Kali and Shakti. She is known as the beautiful but powerful protectress. Watch how this plays out in the daughter, Durga, and her story within the film, which is rather key. All in all, there is not one situation that is not captured in poignant depth here: joy, resignation, humiliation, shame, melancholy, elation, etc. While it certainly captures universal pathos, it subtlely and effortlessly shifts into moments of boundless fun and exhilaration. It opens up the bounty of dynamics not only within relationships, but in cultural and industrial vs. agricultural (train scene!) motifs as well. Truly, just as life in India is diverse beyond description, so is this film rich beyond its mere two hours' running time. Satyajit Ray, with his first film, truly succeeded in establishing himself as one of the world's most celebrated film artists in the director/producer role.

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