Satyajit Ray Film Festival at Stanford
This page is intended to serve as a guide for those Stanford students who wish to treat themselves to a personal or group film festival on Satyajit Ray. The DVD/VC call numbers in the Green library are also provided. For group meets, you could utilize the massive screen in the Graduate Community Center.
The Apu Trilogy
 Pather Panchali - The Song of the Road - ZDVD 5524
Ray's first film was completed under incredible odds, over a period of 3 years, during which, he had to stop shooting as he had no money. It was finally completed with grants from the govt of West Bengal, which would come in chunks every month, so they'd shoot a bit and stop, and wait for more. The difficulty was exacerbated by the fact that there was a real danger of the oldest character dying, and the youngest ones growing up.
It is an acclaimed masterpiece - a panorama of human emotions and characters caught under exceptional circumstances. It is the story of a family in a small village in Bengal that is caught in a battle for survival. The head of the family is an idealistic poet, who is hardly able to make ends meet. Yet, in their small world, the children build their own existence and give new meaning to life and beauty.
Watching this movie unfold is a deeply moving experience.
 Aparajito - The Unvanquished - ZDVD 5523
The second in the trilogy, this movie follows the travails of the young Apu, as his family moves to Benaras. It is his spirit that remains unvanquished, hence the name - Aparajito (from the sanskrit aparAjit). The story follows him all the way to school, as he has to leave home, and focuses on his relationship with his mother. It touches on the pressures that a material world puts on family relationships, and strikes a chord with those itinerants who miss their mothers dearly.
 Apur Sansar - The world of Apu - ZDVD 5522
The final part of the trilogy, we follow the adventures of a grown up Apu, who gets married under the most exceptional social circumstances. Ray depicts a major ill of society in Bengal in those days, and yet, brings out the beauty in the situation. This is a very romantic film, and is also Sharmila Tagore's first film. There is pathos and upliftment as we see how the human spirit finally triumphs, even in the depths of despair.
 Goopy Gyne, Bagha Byne & Hirok Rajar Deshe - ZDVD 4865 DISC 1, ZDVD 4865 DISC 2, ZVC 17141 (Note: Disc 2 might be the same as the video cassette)
One of Ray's all-time hits, Goopy Gyne, Bagha Byne is a film with extraordinary special effects for its time. Goopy and Bagha are two village simpletons who are very unhappy with life, until they get boons from the king of ghosts, and their lives are forever transformed. Although this is intended to be a fun film, like all Ray films, it has a deep message about the director's convictions, especially when it comes to war.
Hirok rajar deshe (In the Land of King Hirok) was made just after the Emergency, and makes veiled allusions to it, in the form of a sequel to Goopy Gyne, Bagha Byne. Our two simpletons are no longer single in the sequel, but they still seek adventure and continue to delight the audience. These two movies were primarily made by Ray for his son who complained that his father only made movies on serious themes.
 Teen Kanya - ZVC 14145
This anthology film was released in India as "Three Daughters". It was a feature composed of three episodes: The Postmaster - 56 min., Monihara - 61 min., and Samapti - 56 min. Monihara (The Lost Jewels) was left out from the international release probably due to concerns about length and subtitles not being ready for Monihara. The female characters that are central to the stories link the three episodes. Ray adapted three short stories by Rabindranath Tagore as a tribute to the author to mark his birth centenary in 1961. He also made a documentary "Rabindranath Tagore" as part of the celebrations.-- satyajitray.org
 Charulata - ZVC 14174
Charulata (The Lonely Wife) was Ray's twelfth feature film. It was also the director's favorite. Ray described the film as the one which has the least defects. In an interview with 'Cineaste' magazine, when asked about his most satisfying film, Ray said, "Well, the one film that I would make the same way, if I had to do it again, is Charulata."-- satyajitray.org
Charulata is Ray's favorite work - it is also his most sophisticated film. It is based on Rabindranath Tagore's novel - Nashto Nirh (The Broken Nest). No Satyajit Ray festival can be complete without a viewing of Charulata.