Four names leap to mind in discussions about non-Anglophone international film - Ingmar Bergman, Ferderico Fellini, Akira Kurosawa and Satyajit Ray. Profusely praised by his fellow film makers and critics, Ray's work has been described as evocative, magical and completely unique.
A recipient of the Oscar for Lifetime Achievement as well as the Golden and Silver Bears at the Berlin film festival, Ray's first foray into the world of cinema was Pather Panchali which was completed in 1955. It was awarded the top prize at the Cannes Film Festival and brought Indian cinema into international limelight.
Brimming with beauty and love, the tale is a quiet reverie about the life of an impoverished family in rural 1920s Bengal. Ray and his team use techniques such as depth of field to distinguish foreground and background. Shots are beautifully sunlit except for a monsoon sequence which transforms figures into ghostly blurs on screen.
The film is more than a mere coming-of-age story - character-driven rather than story-driven - it examines the many facets of familial relationships. In the aftermath of the story's climax, we come to realise the true gravity of the family's situation. If Pather Panchali leaves you emotionally drained, it’s because you’ve been experiencing it all with the characters.
Source : Jimmy Cage