The festival will feature 10 of Ray’s masterpieces over the 12-day period. Details of dates and venues given in link below.
The 69th Sydney Film Festival has announced a retrospective on visionary Indian filmmaker Satyajit Ray. Ten movies of Ray that will be shown at the festival have been curated by David Stratton, former director of the Sydney Film Festival and current film critic for The Australian. He also co-hosts the ABC’s At the Movies with Margaret Pomeranz.
The festival was officially launched by festival Director Nashen Moodley on Wednesday, announcing a return to its usual winter format. It is an annual competitive festival touted as one of the world’s longest-running film festivals and is considered a major event on the New South Wales cultural calendar.
At the announcement Nashen Moodley paid his respects to the brilliant filmmaker.
“Satyajit Ray is one of the world’s most revered filmmakers. First and foremost a bold and visionary director and writer, his genius was broad ranging, as evidenced by the wonderful scores he composed for many of his films.”
“Beginning with his 1955 debut Pather Panchali, Ray found a unique balance between naturalism and formalism, between simplicity and complexity. His films are almost all set in, what is now West Bengal, and while they are beautifully, proudly specific to Bengali culture and society, they are universal,” he said.
The 10 films chosen to be shown at the festival are:
Pather Panchali (1955)
The Music Room (Jalsaghar) (1958)
The World of Apu (Apur Sansar) (1959)
The Big City (Mahanagar) (1963)
The Hero (Nayak) (1966)
Company Limited (Seemabaddha) (1971)
The Chess Players (Shatranj Ke Khilari) (1977)
The program includes specially imported 35mm print restorations, courtesy of the Academy Film Archive, of some of these films like The Big City, Devi, The Hero, Company Limited and The Chess Players.
Ray’s genius is universally acknowledged, for his mastery in creating stories from ordinary life with a depth and maturity that is seldom seen in moviemaking. He has almost always showcased Bengali culture with honesty laying bare all its aspects – as seen in films like Company Limited (Seemabaddha), where he exposes the hypocrisy behind the shine of Kolkata’s emerging middle-class corporate culture of the 70’s; or the not-so-subtle feminism of The Big City (Mahanagar) made in 1963, in which he talks about the quandary faced by a lower-middle-class family who accept the role of a young housewife as the sole bread-earner but has problems accepting her independence.
Many believe that Satyajit Ray was way ahead of his time, that his vision was so strong that he understood social situations far better than any average person. His film Devi made in 1960 was about religious fanaticism and its impact on women in late 19th Century rural Bengal, which resonates eerily with the condition of the society in India during these times.
All his films are masterpieces; He directed 36 films, including feature films, documentaries and short films. A director, screenwriter, documentary filmmaker, author, essayist, lyricist, magazine editor, illustrator, calligrapher, and music director – Ray was a man of art.
He received many major awards in his career, including 36 Indian National Film Awards, a Golden Lion, a Golden Bear, 2 Silver Bears, many additional awards at international film festivals and ceremonies, and an Academy Honorary Award in 1992. The Government of India also honoured him with the Bharat Ratna in 1992.
The Sydney Film Festival this year promises to be a Ray-fan’s dream venue. To watch one (or all 10) of his films and to know about the date/venue, please click here.
The festival will feature more than 200 films from more than 64 countries, including 27 world premieres. Also included are 101 feature films, including prestigious international festival prize-winners and 53 documentaries from established and upcoming documentary makers. It will run from Wednesday 8 June to Sunday 19 June.