New York – April 1, 2011] The Film Society of Lincoln Center will celebrate India’s greatest filmmaker and one of cinema’s greatest auteurs, Satyajit Ray, with Long Shadows: The Late Work of Satyajit Ray unspooling at the Walter Reade Theater in New York City from April 19 through April 26. The promised (and much-requested) follow-up to the 2009 Satyajit Ray tribute, Long Shadows includes all the films made by Ray in the autumnal years of his career.
Already an acknowledged giant of world cinema, Ray in these later works reveals a more meditative side: his brilliant powers of observation lead him to pare down his style, allowing his characters and the world to reveal themselves to us. Of special interest is The Home and the World, his final, wonderful adaptation of a work by his mentor, Rabindranath Tagore (whose 150th anniversary we celebrate this year), as well as his final, luminous work, The Stranger, an extraordinary summing up of so much of Ray’s worldview graced with a sensational lead performance by Utpal Dutt. Long Shadows: The Late Work of Satyajit Ray is presented in collaboration with Columbia University.
Screenings will be held at the Film Society of Lincoln Center’s Walter Reade Theater located at 165 West 65th Street, between Amsterdam Avenue and Broadway. Tickets range from $5 to $12 and are now on sale both at the box office and online. Discounts are available for Film Society members, seniors, and students. A special three-film pass is also available for $27, or $21 for seniors and students.
Satyajit Ray (1921-1992), was born into a family of distinguished printers, writers and artists in Calcutta. At the age of 18, upon his mother’s prodding, he started studies at Rabindranath Tagore’s Vishva-Bharati University in order to become a commercial artist. Ray left the university before graduating and joined an advertising agency, where he would work for 13 years. An avid film fan since school years, he co-founded Calcutta’s first film society in 1947. Around the same time, Ray started writing film criticism, which appeared in both English and Bengali publications. In 1949, Ray met Jean Renoir, while the French director was scouting locations in India for The River. Renoir encouraged Ray’s passion for cinema; however, an appointment to the London office of the ad agency prevented him from working on Renoir’s film. While in London, Ray saw De Sica’s The Bicycle Thief, which solidified his ideas about making a realistic Indian film, shot in existing locations with a non-professional cast.
A prolific director, Ray made a feature every year from 1956 to 1981. In addition, Ray developed a notable literary career, writing short stories, articles and novels as well as reviving a children’s magazine, Sandesh, started by his grandfather. On March 30, 1992, Satyajit Ray was awarded the Honorary Oscar for lifetime achievement. Due to ill health, he could not attend the ceremony and his acceptance speech was pre-recorded in Calcutta. He died on April 23 that year.
Tickets, schedule and complete information on Long Shadows: The Late Work of Satyajit Ray are available at: http://www.filmlinc.com/films/series/long-shadows-the-late-work-of-satyajit-ray.
The Branches of a Tree: Satyajit Ray, 1990, India; 130m
When a family patriarch falls ill, his grown sons rush in from Calcutta, leading to a reunion filled with painful ironies and lingering disillusionment.
Apr 24, 26
The Chess Players: Satyajit Ray, 1977, India; 129m
Shot in lavish color, Ray’s ironic elegy to 19th-century India tacks between an effete aristocrat threatened by the British, and two Lucknowi landowners absorbed in gameplaying.
Apr 20, 21, 23
Deliverance (Sadgati): Satyajit Ray, 1981, India; 52m
In Ray’s stark, unflinching short, a weakened Untouchable laborer dies on the job, forcing the landowner to deal with the consequences.
Pikoo’s Diary: Satyajit Ray, 1980, India; 26m
A boy’s day at home is filled with shattering and confusing revelations.
The Inner Eye: Satyajit Ray, 1972, India; 19m
Ray’s exquisite portrait of painter Binode Bihari Mukherjee.
Apr 20, 24
Distant Thunder: Satyajit Ray, 1973, India; 101m
Ray revisits the village setting of the Apu Trilogy for a jarring drama about villagers during the Bengali Famine of 1943. New York Film Festival ’73.
Apr 19, 23
The Elephant God: Satyajit Ray, 1979, India; 112m
Ray’s beloved Feluda teams up with his faithful sidekick and a mystery novelist to track down a stolen Ganesh figurine. Featuring knife-throwing and Benares in vivid color.
Apr 20, 22
An Enemy of the People: Satyajit Ray, 1990, India; 99m
In Ray’s reworking of the Ibsen play, Soumitra Chatterjee plays a beleaguered doctor who insists that a temple’s holy water is causing epidemics.
Apr 22, 23
The Golden Fortress: Satyajit Ray, 1974, India; 120m
Two thieves kidnap a boy whose flashbacks to a past life may point the way to treasure. Master detective Feluda is on the case!
Apr 19, 20
The Home and the World: Satyajit Ray, 1984, India; 140m
In Ray’s take on the 1905 Bengali partition protests, a bourgeois woman (Swatilekha Chatterjee) falls for a strident nationalist (Soumitra Chatterjee). Adapted from Rabindranath Tagore.
Apr 22, 24
The Kingdom of Diamonds: Satyajit Ray, 1980, India; 118m
Ray pulls out all the stops for the fantastical sci-fi return of delightful duo Goupy and Bagha, who must contend with a dictator’s brainwashing machine.
Sikkim: Satyajit Ray, 1971, India; 60m
Commissioned by the ruler of a Himalayan state, Ray made this controversial poetic sketch, which was swiftly subjected to censorship.
Bala Satyajit: Ray, 1976, India; 33m
Ray’s rarely screened record of the famed Bharata Natyam dancer.
The Stranger: Satyajit Ray, 1991, India; 97m
In this disarming, thoughtful coda to Ray’s career, a forgotten uncle (Utpal Dutt) visits his family after decades of wandering, leading to debates over civility and civilization.
Apr 24, 26
Presented in collaboration with Columbia University.
Special thanks to the Satyajit Ray Preservation Project at the Academy Film Archive, the Film Foundation, the Academy Film Archive as well as to the Satyajit Ray Film and Study Collection at the Academy Film Archive.