“Living itself brings fulfillment and joy.”
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
Response to Peary’s Review:
Of course, “as in most of Ray’s films, there will be great tragedy, reflection, guilt, and, ultimately an affirmation of life,” which circles back once again to the grounding anchor of nature.
Peary writes that while this “beautiful film has [a] familiar plotline” (I disagree), “Ray presents everything in unique ways” and the “final shot… is the perfect reward for us having gone through so much suffering with Apu in Pather Panchali, Aparajito, and this film.”
He points out that “Ray has been criticized for failing to give a clear picture of the changing India,” but counters that “here we see industrialization, get a quick view of a picket line, hear of strike-breaking, get a glimpse of a decrepit school where no education is possible and the back room of a factory where workers waste their lives ‘labeling’ for slave wages.”
Peary concludes his review by noting that “even if this isn’t a social document, it manages to give us insight into people (men and women, children) that few filmmakers have been able to match” — and “for viewers, there aren’t many films that are as emotionally rewarding as the Apu films.”
I fully agree. While I find Pather Panchali (Ray’s debut film) to be the most magical of the trilogy, this one is a close second given its mature depiction of love, heartbreak, and compromise. Young Aparna is stunningly beautiful:
… and she and Chatterjee make a fine couple; her willingness to leave behind a life of relative leisure with servants to follow her unknown husband to his ramshackle apartment speaks volumes about her loyalty and character. We fully understand the depth of Chatterjee’s grief when tragedy strikes, and are grateful that Ray allows us to experience the relentless impact of this as it hits Chatterjee over a period of days, weeks, and years. While this film’s storyline (based once again on a novel by Bibhutibhushan Bandyopadhyay) is far from easy, we know we’ll be rewarded by authenticity and genuine pathos.
Notable Performances, Qualities, and Moments:
(Listed in 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die)