As we asked for recommendations of late Satyajit Ray films, Tom Luddy (Co-Director of the Telluride Film Festival) put us in touch with writer Salman Rushdie, who is particularly fond of The Golden Fortress. He kindly wrote a few words for the FilmLinc blog:
“I had the privilege of meeting Satyajit Ray when he was on location in rural Bengal shooting The Home and the World. We spent a couple of days together and one morning at breakfast I mentioned that I loved his children’s film The Golden Fortress (Sonar Kella). It was as though I had praised an ignored child. He leapt to his feet, his arms windmilling (he was a tall man) and shouted, ‘Oh! you like that film? You saw that film? Nobody has seen that film!’ Many years later when I was asked by the Telluride Film Festival to be a guest curator I presented the film to the festival audiences, and it was one of the year’s biggest hits, with several extra screenings being scheduled.
Ray inherited from his father a love of writing, and making films, for children, and for a long time edited the children’s magazine Sandesh which his father had founded. In that magazine he first created the character of the detective Feluda who features in The Golden Fortress, trying to rescue the film’s boy hero, who remembers a previous life ‘in a golden fortress full of jewels,’ from the unscrupulous rogues who have conned the child into thinking they are his friends. The film is a true delight and the moment when the Golden Fortress is discovered – when it is revealed not to be a child’s fantasy but a real place, shimmering on the horizon – is one of the greatest screen moments in this great film director’s magnificent oeuvre.”
– Salman Rushdie
The Golden Fortress plays again today at the Walter Reade Theater at 3:30pm. Don’t forget to check out the rest of our series Long Shadows: The Late Work of Satyajit Ray, which continues until April 26.