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Watch of the Week Edition 6: Satyajit Ray's The Apu Trilogy

This week I’m changing things up a bit, so instead of reviewing a singular film that I highly recommend as a must watch. I’m instead going to write a reflection of sorts on a film trilogy. This particular trilogy has eluded me for a couple of years since I learned about it’s existence a while back. I’ve read many people sing its praises to the high heavens yet I never felt compelled enough to sink my mind into it. However, recently I finally experienced the cinematic world of Satyajit Ray’s, masterfully intimate,  Apu Trilogy. 

The trilogy follows the life of a boy named Apu. We witness his emotional, mental, and physical growth toil in grief, tragedy, happiness, selfishness, ambition, and love. However, as much as the films are about him they are also about the dynamics of parental relationships and responsibilities. These elements play a vital part in this symphony wherein it seems that Satyajit Ray is actively searching for the epiphany of life’s purpose. This ultimate purpose is, quite obviously, difficult to comprehend but in his effort I find solace that the search for unadulterated joy is the closest answer he could get to. 

It begins with Pather Panchali. In its essence, it is a story of Poverty wedged in between childhood and parenting. Within this down to earth, God honest, reflection and observation of the innocence of happiness within childhood, is both heartbreaking and heartwarming. Pather Panchali is a poignant reminder to us in times of dire desperation that therein lies hope. And to never take for granted what little we may seem to have. Because when we fail to recognize joy, we leave ourselves aching with melancholy.

The second film is Aparajito, which observes Apu in his adolescence. Aparajito is a subdued emotional trip of toil, gripped with regret, selfishness, love, and the existential dealings of losing a loved one, whether through death or through life. It’s from this that spawns a reflection of how important it is to initiate a connection beyond the material, beyond the physical. And it’s also a reminder of the eventual sadness that lies ahead. Because the death of a loved one will always serve as a reminder of what one had and or what one would have had if different choices were made.

The concluding chapter, Apur Sansar or also called The World of Apu, finds its setting during Apu’s adulthood, specifically his late 20’s and early 30’s. It is here where true catharsis is achieved. Where the search for joy finally meets its end. Life upholds a precarious and delicate balance of tragedy and happiness. Within this balance is a path that leads to hope, depression, excitement, regret, and love. The tenets of this path are eventualities of life. These things shape us, they make us grow, they put us down, they inform us. It is with these things that form the impenetrable soul of Satyajit Ray’s masterpiece of a trilogy; The Apu Trilogy. 

Films I watched this week, 3/22 - 3/28:

Apur Sansar (The World of Apu) - Satyajit Ray: 5/5

Zack Snyder’s Justice League - Zack Snyder: 2.5/5

Deadpool - Tim Miller: 2/5

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