Pather Panchali & Mourning

We can see how Satyajit Ray got his inspiration from Italian Neo-realism. As opposed to melodramas, this film is more closely related to Umberto D and Early Summer. Apu’s family is struggling with poverty which seems to be a concern of Ray’s. What I really appreciated after this long film that wasn’t a favorite of mine, was how you could really see a pattern of chipping away at this poor family. When the father arrives after the storm and Durga’s death, there are some distant shots of trees fallen, then we get closer to the house and see more trees, broken bricks, and the house in disarray. The wife at first pretends everything is okay and then finally when he says he brought Durga a sari, she falls to the ground wailing. It is a very poignant scene to seeing the harsh reality of everything weighing down on the family, that she literally caves under the pressure. The camera is pointed very low to the ground for this scene and you see the husband and wife crying out together.  It was not an easy film to watch because it was long, but the message was clear that this family was living in poverty that they had to eat food out of the neighbor’s yard. It was difficult to not feel sorry for them, and not judge them for resorting to desperate measures. Ultimately, I was glad to see them see leave and try to find opportunity and happiness elsewhere, hopefully in a place they could be less dire.

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