May 2, 2021 was the birth centenary of Ray, the Indian master who won an honorary Oscar in 1992, shortly before his death, and remains the country’s best known filmmaker internationally.
The first part of the retrospective, which is currently on and will continue till Dec. 29, focuses on the early part of Ray’s career from 1955 – 1969. After a career as a graphic designer, Ray became a director in his early thirties with the ground breaking “Pather Panchali” (1955), which together with “Aparajito” (The Unvanquished, 1956) and “Apur Sansar” (The World of Apu, 1959), forms the phenomenal Apu Trilogy that follows the titular protagonist from childhood to adulthood.
The retrospective includes the Academy Film Archive’s landmark restoration of the Apu Trilogy from camera negatives nearly lost in a fire.
The December screenings at the Museum focus on Ray’s prolific and prodigious 1960s output, including the omnibus film “Teen Kanya” (Three Daughters, 1961); filming in color for the first time in “Kanchenjungha” (1962); and the double bill “Kapurush”/”Mahapurush” (The Coward/The Holy Man, 1965).
The decade also saw Ray confronting religion in “Devi” (The Goddess, 1960); focus on women’s perspectives with “Mahanagar” (The Big City, 1963) and “Charulata” (The Lonely Wife, 1964); take a dark detour with “Abhijan” (The Expedition, 1962); explore the fragile male ego with “Nayak” (The Hero, 1966); and create a magical, musical adventure with “Goopy Gyne Bagha Byne” (The Adventures of Goopy and Bagha, 1969).
Most of the films in the retrospective are restored by the Satyajit Ray Preservation Project at the Academy Film Archive and will screen on preserved 35mm prints at the museum’s Ted Mann theater.
The retrospective is organized by Academy Museum senior film program director Bernardo Rondeau.
The second part of the retrospective will take place in 2022.