Set almost entirely in a remote Bengal village, Satyajit Ray’s debut changed the landscape of Indian art-house cinema and unveiled his enduring artistic voice to the world. Based on the novel by Bibhutibhushan Bandyopadhyay and inspired by Italian neorealism as well as the works of French filmmaker Jean Renoir, Pather Panchali centers on young Apu (Subir Banerjee, in his first and only film role) and the family who shapes his youth in delightful and heartrending ways. Accompanied by the incomparable ragas of composer Ravi Shankar, Apu traverses the village with wonder, curiously observing the ebbs and flows of rural life. Despite a shoestring budget and a crew of relative newcomers and non-actors—including first-time cinematographer Subrata Mitra and art director Bansi Chandragupta—Ray constructed a film of modesty and eloquence.
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