782-785 The Apu Trilogy

Discuss DVDs and Blu-rays released by Criterion and the films on them. If it's got a spine number, it's in here. Threads may contain spoilers.
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eerik
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782-785 The Apu Trilogy

#1 Post by eerik » Wed Jul 09, 2014 12:37 pm

The Apu Trilogy

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Two decades after its original negatives were burned in a fire, Satyajit Ray's breathtaking milestone of world cinema rises from the ashes in a meticulously reconstructed new restoration. The Apu Trilogy brought India into the golden age of international art-house film, following one indelible character, a free-spirited child in rural Bengal who matures into an adolescent urban student and finally a sensitive man of the world. These delicate masterworks—Pather Panchali (Song of the Little Road), Aparajito (The Unvanquished), and Apur Sansar (The World of Apu)—based on two books by Bibhutibhusan Banerjee, were shot over the course of five years, and each stands on its own as a tender, visually radiant journey. They are among the most achingly beautiful, richly humane movies ever made—essential works for any film lover.

Pather Panchali

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The release in 1955 of Satyajit Ray's debut, Pather Panchali, introduced to the world an eloquent and important new cinematic voice. A depiction of rural Bengali life in a style inspired by Italian neorealism, this naturalistic but poetic evocation of a number of years in the life of a family introduces us to both little Apu and, just as essentially, the women who will help shape him: his independent older sister, Durga; his harried mother, Sarbajaya, who, with her husband away, must hold the family together; and his kindly and mischievous elderly "auntie," Indir—vivid, multifaceted characters all. With resplendent photography informed by its young protagonist's perpetual sense of discovery, the Cannes-awarded Pather Panchali is an immersive cinematic experience and a film of elemental power.

Aparajito

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Satyajit Ray had not planned to make a sequel to Pather Panchali, but after the film's international success, he decided to continue Apu's narrative. Aparajito picks up where the first film leaves off, with Apu and his family having moved away from the country to live in the bustling holy city of Varanasi (then known as Benares). As Apu progresses from wide-eyed child to intellectually curious teenager, eventually studying in Kolkata, we witness his academic and moral education, as well as the growing complexity of his relationship with his mother. This tenderly expressive, often heart-wrenching film, which won three top prizes at the Venice Film Festival, including the Golden Lion, not only extends but also spiritually deepens the tale of Apu.

Apur Sansar

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By the time Apur Sansar was released, Satyajit Ray had directed not only the first two Apu films but also the masterpiece The Music Room, and was well on his way to becoming a legend. This extraordinary final chapter brings our protagonist's journey full circle. Apu is now in his early twenties, out of college, and hoping to live as a writer. Alongside his professional ambitions, the film charts his romantic awakening, which occurs as the result of a most unlikely turn of events, and his eventual, fraught fatherhood. Featuring soon to be Ray regulars Soumitra Chatterjee and Sharmila Tagore in star-making performances, and demonstrating Ray's ever more impressive skills as a crafter of pure cinematic imagery, Apur Sansar is a moving conclusion to this monumental trilogy.

SPECIAL EDITION COLLECTOR’S SET:

• New 4K digital restorations of all three films, undertaken in collaboration with the Academy Film Archive at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and L'Immagine Ritrovata, with uncompressed monaural soundtracks on the Blu-rays
• Audio recordings from 1958 of director Satyajit Ray reading his essay "A Long Time on the Little Road" and in conversation with film historian Gideon Bachmann
• New interviews with actors Soumitra Chatterjee, Shampa Srivastava, and Sharmila Tagore; camera assistant Soumendu Roy; and film writer Ujjal Chakraborty
• New video essay by Ray biographer Andrew Robinson on the trilogy's evolution and production
"The Apu Trilogy": A Closer Look, a new program featuring filmmaker, producer, and teacher Mamoun Hassan
• Excerpts from the 2003 documentary The Song of the Little Road, featuring composer Ravi Shankar
The Creative Person: Satyajit Ray, a 1967 half-hour documentary by James Beveridge, featuring interviews with Ray, several of his actors, members of his creative team, and film critic Chidananda Das Gupta
• Footage of Ray receiving an honorary Oscar in 1992
• New program on the restorations by filmmaker :: kogonada
• New English subtitle translations
• PLUS: A booklet featuring essays by critics Terrence Rafferty and Girish Shambu


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sir_luke
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Re: Forthcoming Lists Discussion and Random Speculation Vol.

#3 Post by sir_luke » Wed Jul 09, 2014 12:48 pm

I was just about to report on that. The Apu Trilogy couldn't come soon enough for me!

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Re: Forthcoming Lists Discussion and Random Speculation Vol.

#4 Post by Calvin » Wed Aug 20, 2014 12:58 pm

On August 23rd, there will be a presentation on the restoration of the Apu Trilogy at The Reel Thing: Los Angeles
Saturday. 9:15am
Restoration of the Apu Trilogy
Michael Pogorzelski, Academy Film Archive
Lee Kline, Criterion
Chris Zembower, Criterion
Davide Pozzi, L’Immagine Ritrovata


The Apu Trilogy by Satyajit Ray is considered to be among the most important achievements in the very rich and diverse tradition of Indian cinema. But when Criterion set out to remaster the three films of the trilogy – Pather Panchali, Aparajito and Apur Sansar, there was no indication of how difficult the task would be. The films were beautifully shot in black-and-white by Subrata Mitra, Ray’s great cinematographer, but have long been available only in low quality video editions and rare 35mm prints.
This presentation will talk about the preservation program for these films conducted in the 1990’s by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which included the devastating fire at a film laboratory in 1993 that damaged or destroyed a number of negatives. There were no technologies available in 1993 capable of restoring the deeply damaged film elements. When this current Ray remastering project was initiated, these materials were revisited. Many portions were indeed burned to ash. Nevertheless, some of the negative had survived, and after further inspection and consultation with the Academy Film Archive, the fragments were consigned to Bologna’s Immagine Ritrovata, where technicians rehydrated the film, painstakingly fixed the sprockets and other physical damage, and made 4k wet gate scans of the remaining reels for all three films. This work required hundreds of hours of exacting and meticulous hand labor by expert film preparators. Using fine grain masters and duplicate negatives from Janus Films, the Academy and the BFI, suitable replacements were made for the non-usable or missing sections of the original negatives. To control costs, a workflow developed for a previous project (A Hard Day’s Night) was deployed.

The presentation will be in four sections: outlining the importance of the films, the 1994 preservation project, the phase of detailed film repair and scanning, and the 4k workflow that made this project economically feasible.

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#5 Post by Superswede11 » Sun Jan 11, 2015 12:51 am

Earlier today on Instagram, Criterion posted a picture of color correction on The Apu Trilogy

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Re: Satyajit Ray

#6 Post by hearthesilence » Wed Mar 11, 2015 4:06 pm

Now I know why it's taken so long. Lee Kline writes about the painstaking restoration work behind the Apu Trilogy.

Long story short, the negatives for the film were badly damaged in a fire (ironically and cruelly at London lab where the reels of film were still on their way to the Academy Film Archive for preservation, following Ray's lifetime achievement Oscar). The Academy didn't dispose of the reels, but the damage was difficult to fix, and in the case of Pather Panchali, only about 40% of the original negative was actually usable.

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Re: Satyajit Ray

#7 Post by MichaelB » Wed Mar 11, 2015 4:36 pm

I remember the Henderson lab fire - it also destroyed the original camera negatives of several Ealing classics.

When I was at the BFI, the part of the health and safety induction programme that we paid most attention to was the nitrate fire bit - a subject that everyone there takes very seriously.

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Re: Satyajit Ray

#8 Post by FrauBlucher » Thu Mar 26, 2015 6:16 pm


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Re: Forthcoming Lists Discussion and Random Speculation Vol.

#9 Post by Yaanu » Mon Apr 06, 2015 2:28 am

Here's a little something I snagged from Twitter before the relevant Tweet was deleted.
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Title treatment for The Apu Trilogy. This is going to be one gorgeous box set.

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Re: Film Forum (NYC)

#10 Post by FrauBlucher » Sat Apr 11, 2015 3:58 pm


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Re: Forthcoming Lists Discussion and Random Speculation Vol.

#11 Post by mogwai » Tue Apr 14, 2015 9:11 pm

Anne Thompson article with Peter Becker on the Apu trilogy restoration. This is going to be such an amazingly important release. I can't wait to see them.

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Forthcoming: The Apu Trilogy

#12 Post by FrauBlucher » Tue Apr 21, 2015 4:36 pm


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Drucker
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Re: Forthcoming: The Apu Trilogy

#13 Post by Drucker » Tue Apr 21, 2015 4:44 pm

Saw the restoration trailer at Film Forum last week. Honestly, considering the film's history, you'd never know it's been through such hell!

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Re: Forthcoming: The Apu Trilogy

#14 Post by FrauBlucher » Tue Apr 21, 2015 5:12 pm

I was there yesterday. Saw the trailer. Man, does that look amazing.

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Re: Forthcoming: The Apu Trilogy

#15 Post by hollis » Thu Apr 23, 2015 1:08 pm

The trailer is now available for all to see. It looks gorgeous.

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Re: Forthcoming: The Apu Trilogy

#16 Post by Drucker » Thu Apr 23, 2015 3:04 pm

I could listen to Ravi Shankar for hours. Can't wait.

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Re: Forthcoming: The Apu Trilogy

#17 Post by djproject » Fri Apr 24, 2015 7:49 am

Oh frabjous day indeed! It will be playing at the theatre right across from where I work [Kendall Square Cinema] =D

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Re: Forthcoming: The Apu Trilogy

#18 Post by sir_luke » Thu Apr 30, 2015 3:29 pm

Another trailer for the restoration, this one by ::kogonada.

trailer for the restoration

Nearly teared up. Unbelievable what they were able to rescue and transform.

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Re: Forthcoming: The Apu Trilogy

#19 Post by jsteffe » Thu Apr 30, 2015 5:02 pm

sir_luke, you're not alone! It in fact brought tears to my eyes. These are among my very favorite films of all time, so I'm incredibly grateful for what Janus Films/Criterion has done.

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Re: Forthcoming: The Apu Trilogy

#20 Post by EddieLarkin » Thu Apr 30, 2015 6:24 pm

Well it's certainly great to see Criterion bringing something big to the table again. 2015 hasn't been hugely impressive for them so far but this could easily be Release of the Year.

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Re: Forthcoming: The Apu Trilogy

#21 Post by Newsnayr » Thu Apr 30, 2015 8:06 pm

EddieLarkin wrote:Well it's certainly great to see Criterion bringing something big to the table again. 2015 hasn't been hugely impressive for them so far but this could easily be Release of the Year.
If both The Apu Trilogy and Mulholland Drive are released for the same month then that would be Criterion's best month since last October (Tati, La dolce vita, My Darling Clementine).

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Re: Forthcoming: The Apu Trilogy

#22 Post by L.A. » Mon May 04, 2015 8:49 am

Alaka Sahani of The Indian Express has written an article about the restoration of the Apu Trilogy.


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Re: Forthcoming: The Apu Trilogy

#24 Post by McNulty » Mon May 11, 2015 3:05 pm

According to NPR's John Powers, this is coming in November.

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Re: Forthcoming: The Apu Trilogy

#25 Post by FrauBlucher » Mon May 11, 2015 8:00 pm


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