Chances are you've never seen Sikkim, the Satyajit Ray film with a controversial history (playing at the Walter Reade Theater today and Tuesday). We came across an interesting article that talks about the film's restoration, while providing context for why it's so hard to find:
“…the late Chogyal had wanted to showcase the sovereign kingdom of Sikkim to the world in the best and most authentic light, which is why he invited the internationally acclaimed filmmaker, Satyajit Ray, to make the film. The film was shot by Ray’s cinematographer, Soumendu Roy, and Ray was assisted by the Mumbai-based actor and director, Tinu Anand. It was informed that while the film was completed on time, apart from a few private screenings it had never received a theatrical release. In 1973 Sikkim went through political turmoil and the film remained unseen and it was also presumed to be banned. It was also informed today that it was only when Ray was given a lifetime achievement Oscar and the Academy held a retrospective festival for his works that it was realized that Sikkim was the only film which could not be screened; its prints could not be traced. Sikkim thus came to be known as ‘the lost film.' A lot of curiosity was generated but nobody seemed to have a print and worse still, the negatives of the film had gone missing.” (more at Sikkim NOW!)
Sikkim is screening as part of our series Long Shadows: The Late Work of Satyajit Ray, which continues at the Film Society until April 26.