The Apu Trilogy Criterion Collection
In 1992, Satyajit Ray received an honorary Academy Award for an extensive career of soulful, thoughtful realist dramas that included films like The Music Room, An Enemy of the People, and Devi, as well as his most celebrated contribution to the fabric of world cinema, his beloved Apu trilogy (1954 – 1959). When the Apu films (Pather Panchali, Aparajito, and Apur Sansar) were shown, in clips, at the Oscar telecast, the producers winced at their poor quality. The prints of the Apu trilogy were shipped to London shortly after the broadcast for immediate restoration. There was, in London, a nitrate fire in the film vault (older nitrate prints are notorious for how fragile and immensely combustible they are), and the only known prints of the Apu trilogy were severely damaged. At the time, the Academy deemed the prints to be unsalvageable, and we would have to content ourselves to watch Ray’s masterpieces on old VHS tapes. For decades, it seemed like the films were more or less lost.

In 2013, the venerable Criterion Collection and the Academy Archive, armed with updated technology and a fervent obsession with cinema and posterity – not to mention the cooperation of an Italian restoration house – began the epic project of meticulously restoring the Apu trilogy to its original glory. The work that was done is nothing short of miraculous. The films are clean and gorgeous and do not show a single sign that they had ever been damaged. Only an errant scratch here or there marks their age.

The three films in The Apu Trilogy are, not to put too fine a point on it, among the best films ever made. They are a biography of a young boy who grows into a man, but free of the grandiose narrative histrionics or obscene melodrama that dominated Indian cinema at the time (Bollywood is often known for overwrought romantic musicals). They are quiet and realistic. they feel intimate and personable, as if we’re spending time with a friend, or perhaps even living in this world ourselves. They ache with sadness and loss, as when the young Apu loses his elderly aunt, his sister, his father, his mother, his bride.

Director: Satyajit Ray
Cast: Subir Banerjee (as Subir Bandopadhyay), Smaran Ghosal (as Smarankumar Ghoshal), Soumitra Chatterjee (as Soumitra Chattopadhyay)
Country: India
Genre: Drama

The films explore the story of Apu throughout his life: from his early years as a boy living in an impoverished village, to his years as a young student in Calcutta, to his early years as a young man. The storytelling has a slice of life feel. In each of the films in the trilogy, the stories are focused on telling the story of Apu, his family, and his experiences growing up.

In 'Pather Panchali' (the first film), we meet a very young Apu living in rural Bengali with his family. His father is trying to make ends meet along with his mother, aunt, and sister. His father dreams of being a writer and leaves to find work, while leaving Apu's mother to tend to the family as they move to a different city. Meanwhile, Apu is dealing and struggling with this upheaval of his family and a new city at such a young age, not to mention a couple of tragedies.

In the second film titled 'Aparajito', Apu is now a young man, wanting more from his life and for his family. After some unfortunate news, Apu and his family pack up and head back to their small village with barely any money. Despite this, Apu gets himself into a great school where he becomes one of the best in his class. He meets new people and new ideas. This also provides some family conflict as they need Apu to stay at home and help out, rather than get a big education, where Apu soon learns how to live on his own.

In the third and final movie 'Apur Sansar', Apu is now a man and has graduate from school. He is writing a novel and is looking for steady work. Soon enough he is invited to a wedding of an arranged marriage, where things don't go as palnned and Apu ends up with the bride to be. In an unfortunate accident, Apu is faced with taking care of his new family or leaving to focus on his work, just like in the footsteps of father, bringing this trilogy full circle. It's a fantastic masterpiece in filmmaking from Satyajit Ray.

Ray's storytelling ability and amazing eye has brilliantly weaved a cast of characters that are just living life to the fullest, or at least trying. Back in the 50s, the India film scene mostly consisted of a mix of musicals and melodramatic stories. However with this 'Apu' trilogy of movies, Ray took a simple and natural look at the lives of his people, never over-doing the narrative. It changed the India film landscape forever.

3xBD50 + 3xDVD9 | 1080p AVC, NTSC | 341 minutes | 133.5 Gb + 23 Gb + 3% rec
Language: Bengali
Subtitles: English

Extras:

Pather Panchali:

• A Long Time on the Little Road (15 Mins.) - Here we have Satyajit Ray reading his Sight and Sound essay on Pather Panchali. It goes over the making of the film and his themes and characters.

• Soumitra Chatterjee (HD, 7 Mins.) - The actor who played Apu in the final film discusses his character, working on the movie and with Satyajit Ray. He also goes over how this movie affected his people.

• Shampa Srivastava (HD, 16 Mins.) - Here is an interview with the actress who played Durga as she talks about her time making the film.

• Soumendu Roy (HD, 13 Mins.) - This is an interview with one of the camera operators who became one of Satyajit Ray's main co-workers. He talks about shooting on film and making this particular movie as well as working with Ray for so many years.

• Ravi Shankar (HD, 6 Mins.) - This is a short excerpt from the documentary 'Song of the Little Road', which features the musician discussing his work on this trilogy and working with Ray.

Aparajito:

• The Small Details (HD, 11 Mins.) - Film historian Ujall Chakraborty talks about the themes, tones, and symbolism in this particular film.

• A Conversation with Filmmaker Satyajit Ray (15 Mins.) - Ray talks about his life, career, films, and approach to directing.

• Making 'The Apu Trilogy': Satyajit Ray's Epic Debut (HD, 37 Mins.) - Film historian Andew Robinson talks about this trilogy in great detail and the impact it had on culture, filmmaking, and people.

• The Creative Person (HD, 29 Mins.) - This is a documentary from 1967 in which Satyajit Ray and his frequent co-workers discuss film, life, and characters in Ray's movies.

Apur Sansar:

• Soumitra Chatterjee and Sharmila Tagore (HD, 15 Mins.) - These two actors who played Apu and Aparna talk about making this trilogy, working with Satyaji Ray, and how the movie has changed filmmaking.

• 'The Apu Trilogy': A Closer Look (HD, 44 Mins.) - This is an inteview Mamoun Hassan, who is one of the heads of the British Film Institute. He discusses 'The Apu Trilogy', focusing on its central themes, characters, style, and place in history.

• Honorary Oscar (HD, 3 Mins.) - This is the clip from the 1992 Oscars where Satyajit Ray received his honorary Oscar.

• Restoring 'The Apu Trilogy': Short Version (HD, 3 Mins.) - This is more of a promo for the longer version on how Criterion and others restored these three films.

• Restoring 'The Apu Trilogy': Long Version (HD, 13 Mins.) - Here is the full piece that dives into almost every aspect of this restoration process. This was amazing to watch. I only wish it were still longer.

Download The Apu Trilogy: Pather Panchali / Song of the Little Road (1955), Aparajito / The Unvanquished (1956), Apur Sansar / The World of Apu (1959) 3 x DVD9 and 3 x Blu-Ray Criterion Collection:

Aparajito.1956.CC.BluRay.U.part01.rar
Aparajito.1956.CC.BluRay.U.part02.rar
Aparajito.1956.CC.BluRay.U.part03.rar
Aparajito.1956.CC.BluRay.U.part04.rar
Aparajito.1956.CC.BluRay.U.part05.rar
Aparajito.1956.CC.BluRay.U.part06.rar
Aparajito.1956.CC.BluRay.U.part07.rar
Aparajito.1956.CC.BluRay.U.part08.rar
Aparajito.1956.CC.BluRay.U.part09.rar
Aparajito.1956.CC.BluRay.U.part10.rar

Apur.Sansar.1959.CC.BluRay.U.part01.rar
Apur.Sansar.1959.CC.BluRay.U.part02.rar
Apur.Sansar.1959.CC.BluRay.U.part03.rar
Apur.Sansar.1959.CC.BluRay.U.part04.rar
Apur.Sansar.1959.CC.BluRay.U.part05.rar
Apur.Sansar.1959.CC.BluRay.U.part06.rar
Apur.Sansar.1959.CC.BluRay.U.part07.rar
Apur.Sansar.1959.CC.BluRay.U.part08.rar
Apur.Sansar.1959.CC.BluRay.U.part09.rar
Apur.Sansar.1959.CC.BluRay.U.part10.rar
Apur.Sansar.1959.CC.BluRay.U.part11.rar

Pather.Panchali.1955.CC.BluRay.U.part01.rar
Pather.Panchali.1955.CC.BluRay.U.part02.rar
Pather.Panchali.1955.CC.BluRay.U.part03.rar
Pather.Panchali.1955.CC.BluRay.U.part04.rar
Pather.Panchali.1955.CC.BluRay.U.part05.rar
Pather.Panchali.1955.CC.BluRay.U.part06.rar
Pather.Panchali.1955.CC.BluRay.U.part07.rar
Pather.Panchali.1955.CC.BluRay.U.part08.rar
Pather.Panchali.1955.CC.BluRay.U.part09.rar
Pather.Panchali.1955.CC.BluRay.U.part10.rar

Aparajito.1956.CC.DVD.U.part1.rar
Aparajito.1956.CC.DVD.U.part2.rar

Apur.Sansar.1959.CC.DVD.U.part1.rar
Apur.Sansar.1959.CC.DVD.U.part2.rar

Pather.Panchali.1955.CC.DVD.U.part1.rar
Pather.Panchali.1955.CC.DVD.U.part2.rar

Related posts:

  1. Il mondo perduto: I cortometraggi di Vittorio De Seta 1954-1959 (2008): Lu tempu di li pisci spata (1954), Isole di fuoco (1955), Surfarara (1955), Pasqua in Sicilia (1956), Contadini del mare (1956), Parabola d’oro (1955), Pescherecci (1958), Pastori di Orgosolo (1958), Un giorno in Barbagia (1958), I dimenticati (1959) DVD9
  2. Wim Wenders: The Road Trilogy: Alice in the Cities (1974), Wrong Move (1975), Kings of the Road (1976) 4 x DVD9 or 3 x Blu-Ray Criterion Collection
  3. Le amiche / The Girlfriends (1955) DVD9 and Blu-Ray Criterion Collection
  4. The Human Condition (Ningen no joken) Trilogy (1959 – 1961) 3 DVD9 + DVD5 Criterion Collection
  5. Guru Dutt Collection: Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam / King, Queen and Slave / Master, Mistress and Servant (1962), Kaagaz Ke Phool / Paper Flowers (1959), Chaudhvin Ka Chand / The Moon of the Fourteenth / Full Moon (1961), Mr. & Mrs. ’55 (1955), Aar-Paar / From One Side to the Other / Across the Heart (1954), C.I.D. (1956) 2 x DVD9