ICC Greenwich and Purchase College host One-Day Film Festival featuring Apu Trilogy

Purchase College, in collaboration with the Indian Cultural Center of Greenwich, and Janus Films, will present the Criterion Collection’s newly restored version of Satyajit Ray’s monumental work, The Apu Trilogy on Sunday, Jan. 31, at 12:30 p.m.

The trilogy, which The New Yorker has called “miraculous,” includes Pather Panchali (Song of the Little Road, 1955), Aparajito (The Unvanquished, 1956), and Apur Sansar (The World of Apu, 1959). The screening of Pather Panchali will begin at 12:30 p.m, Aparajito will begin at 3pm, and the screening of Apur Sansar will start at 5 p.m. There will be a light reception of Indian food, sponsored by Tandoori a Taste of India of Port Chester, NY, for ticket holders between Aparajito and Apur Sansar. Meheli Assistant Professor of Cinema Studies at Rutgers University and a scholar of Indian cinema will introduce each of the three films providing context and commentary on the transformational work of Mr. Ray.

The poignant films, featuring scores by Ravi Shankar, comprise a bildungsroman about Apurba Kumar Roy, known as Apu. The films follow Apu from his rural Bengali childhood through his university days in Calcutta, to marriage and through fatherhood. Ray’s films, which have captured the imagination and praise of such directors as Martin Scorsese, Akira Kurosawa, and Wes Anderson, earned him an Academy Award for Lifetime Achievement in 1992.

Years of storage and general neglect took its toll on the remaining film versions of the works in existence. After the Academy Film Archives begun the process of collecting remaining original film versions, a terrible fire in a London warehouse badly damaged all remaining film stock. Collaborating with the Criterion Collection, a new effort towards a digital 4K restoration was pursued. This version restored literally from ashes brings to audiences a print that faithfully conveys the visual radiance created by Mr. Ray.

Coordinator and Professor of Cinema Studies, Dr. Anne Kern, considers the films to be “a milestone in the evolution of Indian cinema.” “They are part of the foundation of more independent, art-based storytelling that ran parallel to the more popular cinema known as ‘Bollywood’ today. In addition to being some of the greatest examples of Indian cinema, the trilogy’s phenomenal international success opened up an important relay of influence between the cinema of India and the rest of the world. Director Satyajit Ray’s unique vision, which reveals our humanity in the smallest gestures and details, resonates today more than ever.”

Dean of the School of the Arts Ravi Rajan, feels that film is an important way that various communities can come together to find common ground. “As a public college deeply concerned with ensuring the importance of the arts and culture in our society, we are proud to bring to the local community this screening of the entire Apu Trilogy. The importance of these works to both cinephiles and those interested in the South Asian diaspora make this event a perfect way to bring different groups together through art.”

Tickets to all three films are $20, and the price for a single screening is $10.

This event is made possible in part by the Indian Cultural Center of Greenwich, CT, Janus Films, Tandoori a Taste of India of Port Chester, NY, and the Purchase College Foundation.

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