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"Apu Trilogy" DVD Review

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The Bottom Line

The "Apu Trilogy" is a beautiful, moving, and humanistic masterwork of world cinema, and every time I see it, I am reminded of film's potential as an art form. "Pather Panchali," "Aparajito," and "The World of Apu" are all works of great beauty and emotional power.
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Pros

  • Cinepoem with lyrical cinematography and mesmerizing music (Ravi Shankar)
  • Compelling characters and location-shooting in India explore universal themes
  • Unforgettable portrayal of sweep of life from childhood to adolescence to marriage

Cons

  • Picture quality not as good as in some restorations of other movies
  • Unconventional drama and lack of action may tax patience of some
  • DVDs provide no bonus materials

Description

  • Three separately sold DVDs containing three movies known collectively as the "Apu Trilogy"
  • Individual titles are "Pather Panchali" (1955), "Aparajito" (1957), and "The World of Apu" (1959)
  • "Pather Panchali" ranks 22nd in 2002 "Sight and Sound" Critics' Poll
  • The "Apu Trilogy" is written up in Roger Ebert's series “The Great Movies”
  • The three films are written, directed, and produced by the legendary Satyajit Ray
  • Ray got special Academy Award in 1992 for "rare mastery" and "profound humanitarian outlook."
  • All three films are in Bengali with English subtitles
  • Restored classic with acceptable picture and sound quality

Guide Review - "Apu Trilogy" DVD Review

The "Apu Trilogy" is a beautiful, moving, and humanistic masterwork of world cinema, and every time I see it, I am reminded of film's potential as an art form. "Pather Panchali," "Aparajito," and "The World of Apu" are all works of great beauty and emotional power. I love this cinepoem because of its lyrical cinematography, mesmerizing music, and compelling characters, which combine to create an unforgettable portrayal of the sweep of life from childhood to adolescence to marriage. Taken together, the three movies form an almost seamless whole in my imagination, creating an effect much like the memory of a life lived. Yet each film has its own arc that's aesthetically satisfying. Here's a brief description of what each movie is about: "Pather Panchali" centers around the early boyhood of Apu as he grows up in abject poverty in a rural village; "Aparajito" opens with Apu at age 10 living in the holy city of Benares, but later he leaves his mother to go to college in Calcutta; "The World of Apu" shows the 20-something Apu marrying, then falling in love with his wife, and events arising from the birth of their son. The DVDs provide no special features except for scene selection, but the three movies are so great that simply having this trilogy available on DVD is a cineaste's delight.
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