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The release in 1955 of Satyajit Ray’s debut, PATHER PANCHALI, introduced to the world an eloquent and important new cinematic voice. A depiction of rural Bengali life in a style inspired by Italian neorealism, this naturalistic but poetic evocation of a number of years in the life of a family introduces us to little Apu—and, just as essentially, the women who will help shape him: his independent older sister, Durga; his harried mother, Sarbajaya, who, with her husband often away, must hold the family together; and his kindly and mischievous elderly “auntie“ Indir—all of them vivid, multifaceted characters. With resplendent photography informed by its young protagonist’s perpetual sense of discovery, the Cannes-awarded PATHER PANCHALI is an immersive cinematic experience and a film of elemental power.
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