Blu-ray Review: Finally, THE APU TRILOGY Receives The Attention It Deserves

Editor, U.S. ; Dallas, Texas (@HatefulJosh)
I've been writing about Indian cinema for a little over five years now. I've been a fan of Indian cinema for right around ten years. Yet, until a couple of weeks ago, I had never seen any of the films in Satyajit Ray's Apu Trilogy, nor any of his other films, for that matter. This has been something of a burden to me. The Apu Trilogy is not only a crowning achievement in world cinema, it is the Indian art-house experience. No other Indian films come close to being as well-regarded and significant on the world stage.

I've always felt that admitting that I'd never seen them would immediately strip me of any credibility as a critic or aficionado of Indian cinema. When I first became aware of The Apu Trilogy, it was relatively early in my hardcore film fanaticism. The context in which I found them was through the fast and furious world of out-of-print DVD buyers and sellers. The original US discs were already out of print when I started collecting, so it became a totem for me, though one that I was never able to grasp.

It wasn't until I began my love affair with Indian cinema a few years later that the films came back into my life, but now they were virtually unattainable. Rumors began to spread that a restoration was underway from the available elements, most of which were badly damaged in a fire. I figured this would be my shot to finally wash the shame from my face and see these films properly. It was, I am glad, and the world is a better place.

It's too much to attempt to approach these films as one whole, so I've split up this review into three parts, one for each film/disc. You can find each of them by clicking through the gallery.

What these reviews don't mention is the exceptional 44 page booklet that is included in the set. This one is long, even by Criterion's standards, and features excellent essays from Terrence Rafferty and Girish Sambu, but most engaging to me were a collection of Ray's original storyboards for Pather Panchali. Ray's background was as a visual artist who actually came into contact with Pather Panchali when he designed and illustrated the cover and innards of the book when it came out. His connection to the material is clear and beautiful. Don't forget to check it out!

Now, onto the films...

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Criterion Collectionindian cinemaSatyajit Ray

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