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Sunday, June 8, 2008

THE WORLD OF APU (1959)

By the time we reach the final film in Satyajit Ray’s APU trilogy, we feel so close to the leading character (played now by Soumitra Chatterjee), we react to the events in his life as if he were our own son. He smiles or recites a favorite quotation and tears of pride well up. But the story & execution are so beautifully realized, we’d be goners even without the backstory. Apu is now grown, struggling to write & support a wife he’s married thru happenstance. (Chatterjee & Sharmila Tagore make a wonderfully handsome couple. In a taxi ride, she looks like a young Indian Vivien Leigh.) When the inevitable blow to his amazed happiness comes, he is totally unprepared and refuses to be a father to his troubled son. Ray manages all this incident without a whiff of forced dramatics, yet never underplays a moment. Essential.

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