The Hong Kong Film Archive's (HKFA) "Restored Treasures" series will feature Indian film master Satyajit Ray's restored classic "The Apu Trilogy", widely considered among the best work in the history of world cinema.
The trilogy of films: "Song of the Little Road (Pather Panchali)" (1955), "The Unvanquished (Aparajito)" (1956) and "The World of Apu (Apur Sansar)" (1959) will be screened at 2pm on January 2, February 6 and March 6, 2011 respectively, at the Cinema of the HKFA.
The three films have been restored by the Satyajit Ray Preservation Project at the Academy Film Archive with funding from the Film Foundation. Print courtesy of the Academy Film Archive for the screenings in the "Restored Treasures".
To complement the screenings, the HKFA's programmer Mr Sam Ho, and film critic Mr Ernest Chan will share their views at a seminar after the screening of "The World of Apu" on March 6 at the Cinema of HKFA. The seminar will be conducted in Cantonese. Admission is free.
"The Apu Trilogy" represents more than just great artistic accomplishment - it's a remarkable reflection of its period. The films came about at a time when cinema and world civilisation was at crossroads. Things were ready for change and Satyajit Ray showed the world how things can change. He did it by telling stories dear to him, stories rooted deeply in his own culture. In this endeavour he was inspired by the French film master Jean Renoir, and the Italian neo-realistic film "Ladri di Bicicette (The Bicycle Thief)" (1948).
"Pather Panchali", a touching story about Apu's poor family living in a Bengal village, is a magical work, both for its capacity to move audiences and for its historical role. It is one of the most important debuts in film history, made by a first-time director and crew with virtually no filmmaking experience. It took over three years to complete on a shoestring budget and, on completion, shook the world. With the simple beauty of the images, the mesmerizing rhythm of the lives chronicled and the mystical pathos of the story, the film remains a profoundly touching work over half a century later.
The second chapter of the trilogy, "Aparajito" proves emphatically that the brilliance of the first was no fluke, and that Satyajit Ray is an extraordinary artist, capable of mining profound complexity in the simplicity of ordinary life. The film finds Apu's family in the city at Benares, by the holy Ganges, where pilgrims come to bathe, then follows them back to the village after another devastating loss. Ray finds poetic beauty in the city just as he does in the village, hitting an exquisite timbre in Apu's emotional journey, and particularly poignant in the heartrending relationship he has with his mother. The film won the Golden Lion for best feature film at the Venice Film Festival in 1957.
The magic of the trilogy is completed with "Apur Sanar", in which the adult Apu finds himself falling in love unwittingly in the most bizarre of circumstances. Death strikes again and this time it hits hardest, especially because it is brought on by new life. The switch from innocence and tenderness to devastation and anger is drastic, but Ray fashions the entire affair with characteristic restraint, marked again by rich, lyrical compositions and vivid, evocative photography, carving nuanced but powerful emotions out of his characters, and ultimately formatting a hard-earned uplifting conclusion to the saga.
The films are in Bengali with English subtitles.
Priced at $40, tickets are available at all URBTIX outlets. Half-price concessionary tickets are available for senior citizens aged 60 and above, people with disabilities, full-time students and Comprehensive Social Security Assistance recipients. Discount of 10% for each purchase of standard tickets of three screenings. Credit card bookings can be made on 2111 5999, or on the Internet at www.urbtix.hk.
Detailed programme information can be found in the "ProFolio 56" leaflet, distributed at all performing venues of the Leisure and Cultural Services Department. For enquiries, please call 2739 2139/ 2734 2900 or browse the websites: www.filmarchive.gov.hk or www.lcsd.gov.hk/fp.
Ends/Monday, December 20, 2010
A film still from "Song of the Little Road (Pather Panchali)" (1955).
A film still from "The Unvanquished (Aparajito)" (1956).
A film still from "The World of Apu (Apur Sansar)" (1959).
Indian film master Satyajit Ray.