Satyajit Ray had not planned to make a sequel to Pather Panchali, but after the films international success, he decided to continue Apus 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.
"Satyajit Ray creates a sublime and deeply affecting portrait of the struggle between tradition and progress in Aparajito, the second film of the monumental Apu Trilogy. Embodied through the maturation of Apu at the turn of the century, Ray creates an insightful social commentary on a profoundly changing culture, reflected through Apus dilemma between traditional and modern education; his decision to leave home in order to further his studies; his part-time job at a printing press." STRICTLY FILM SCHOOL
"The second part of Satyajit Rays Apu trilogy, fully comprehensible on its own terms, suffers at times from its episodic plot, which follows Apu from age ten in the holy city of Benares to his early adulthood in Calcutta. But this is my favorite film in the trilogy, and the reported favorite of Rays fellow Bengali directors Ritwik Ghatak and Mrinal Sen. Its treatment of death is among the most beautiful, mystical, and precise handlings of that subject in all of cinema, worthy of Mizoguchi." JONATHAN ROSENBAUM, CHICAGO READER
"Whats most striking about Aparajito is how deftly and economically the film races through Banerjees material, compressing years of Apus education into brief, telling montages, and measuring the weight of Sarbajayas many anxieties in a handful of mournful lookssome of them seen in close-up, others in beautifully composed long and medium shots of the fretful mother standing in doorways, watching her sons arrivals and departures." CRITERION
"Standing above fashion, it creates a world so convincing that it becomes, for a time, another life we might have lived." ROGER EBERT
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