57. Pather Pachali (Satyajit Ray, 1955)
This is one of the greatest directorial debuts ever, along with Orson Welles‘ Citizen Kane, and Rouben Mamoulian‘s Applause (which is criminally underrated, and really I will look for any excuse to mention it). Just a wonderful film.
It’s interesting that the movie was shot on an extremely low budget, oh let’s say 80 rupees or so, and didn’t have a script, and yet turned out fantastic. I think it’s a mix of a wonderful talent in Satyajit Ray, and serendipitous good fortune.
The story follows Apu, a young Indian boy growing up in poverty with an older sister who is quite rebellious, a father who dreams of being a writer, a headstrong grandma, and a mother trying to keep it all together. Man that sounds like a movie blurb.
All that really happens is tragedy, but it’s powerful, and never melodramatic. It’s also somehow inspiring that people carry on with strength and conviction and belief. It’s also wonderfully shot in black and white.
I wish I could have found the original poster art. I bet 1950’s Indian film posters are the shit.
On filmaffinity.com I gave the film 9/10. It’s great, the sequels are great, and Satyajit Ray is great. Watch this film.