Heroes — Satyajit Ray

This post, the first in a series of seven, is unabashed hero worship. A few years ago, making up an earlier version of this page, I decided that among all the filmmakers I’ve liked, there were seven who really especially blow me away.

I’ve had time to think since, and haven’t changed my mind. There are plenty of “honorable mentions” I love, but there are seven who are extra special and this is one of them.

Satyajit Ray

Poetry is any film by Satyajit Ray, or any scene in any of his films, or anything that he ever thought about, or that happened when he was nearby, or that happened to anybody during a year he was alive.

I’ve seen the three films in Satyajit Ray‘s Apu Trilogy any number of times. Once I was lucky enough to see them together, on three consecutive nights. The impact was overwhelming. A few years later, I saw them in another series one year apart. They were still powerful. If I had to name the 10 greatest films ever made, the first thing I’d wonder would be if this trilogy would cost me three of my choices or if it could count as just one. In either case, it/they would be in.

Two other special Ray films are Charulata and the great Jalsaghar.

There’s something about the expression on his face in the next photo, and something about the context of the scene itself, a quality of vision that captures what I think about Satyajit Ray as a creator, what I see in his movies.

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