films seen
average score
Alive and kicking
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Plain forgettable

The World of Apu

Apur Sansar
1959 / 105m - India
The World of Apu poster

The final entry in Ray's Apu trilogy. One of the cornerstones of Indian (arthouse) cinema and a must for people who want to experience the absolute classics of world cinema. The first two films didn't really move me though and while there's again some slight progression here, this third film too left me rather cold.

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Apu has finally come of age, but things aren't working out for him. He can't pay his rent and he's forced to quit his education. A chance meeting with a soon-to-be bride nudges him back on the right path, but this being a core arthouse drama means that his happiness will be short-lived. Each cinema niche has its own clich├ęs.

Performances aren't very engaging and the soundtrack is a bit overbearing. The drama too left me cold, as it felt too much like a summary of tragic life events. The cinematography is decent but nothing too remarkable, but at least it's not 3+ hours long like so many of its commercial counterparts. Not really my cup of tea.

The Unvanquished

1956 / 110m - India
The Unvanquished poster

Second part in Ray's Apu trilogy, slightly better than the first one. Also slightly shorter and less dependent on overbearing drama. This part leaves more time for smaller, more inconspicuous slices of life. It's as far removed from modern Bollywood cinema as you can imagine, but not necessarily better.

Big nopes

Song of the Little Road

Pather Panchali
1955 / 125m - India
Song of the Little Road poster

The start of Satyajit Ray's career and the first part in Ray's famous Apu trilogy. It felt like watching an Indian version of Italian neo-realism, not quite my cup of tea. There are maybe one or two small highlights, but the rest left me completely cold. Not my kind of drama.

Irritation overload

The Stranger

1991 / 120m - India
The Stranger poster

I'm not a big Satyajit Ray fan, but so far I've been exclusively watching his older films. I was curious to see if his (more) recent ones could be closer to my personal taste, but alas. The Stranger is a rather bland and unattractive drama that goes on endlessly. Not a step up from his other work at all.

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A middle-class family gets word that an unfamiliar uncle is planning to visit them. They have never met the man, but his invitation intrigues them and they don't dare to deny him, even when they're not certain he's an actual uncle. When he arrives, they do their best to find out his true identity.

The cinematography is an absolute eyesore, the performances are uninviting and while the premise sounds somewhat intriguing, the film gets completely stuck in it. The pacing is slow and with about 120 minutes on the clock, this became quite a challenge to finish. I think I'd rather go back to Ray's older films.

The Music Room

1958 / 95m - India
Drama, Music
The Music Room poster

Light on story, heavy on music. That's makes it quite a challenging film, especially because the music was absolutely grating. It's probably a cultural thing and it no doubt it needs some getting used to, but I clearly wasn't ready for it yet. Apart from the music, the rest is pretty slow and uneventful too. Terrible film.