"Not to have seen the cinema of Satyajit Ray means existing in the world without seeing the sun or the moon."
– Akira Kurosawa
No points for guessing this one, my dear readers! Ray at his sublime best. The camera speaking more eloquently than the dialogue. Structurally perfect. Emotionally subtle and complex. Vividly chromatic cinema in monochrome. Immaculate art direction. Profound characterization ably supported by sterling performances. A haunting reflection on the nature of human relationships. Ray makes every shot and edit work in the film – there is not a single second of unnecessary footage, every scene from the beginning to the end, is just perfect.
For those who haven’t already, do read my earlier post Light Rays on Charulata.
A Bengali housewife in 1897 enraptures me – a 30-something male of more than a century later – in Charulata. A young black girl growing up in the early 1900s in America endears me in The Color Purple, Spielberg’s masterpiece. This is the power of cinema, of film-making at its best.
We meet Celie when she is 14 and pregnant by her father. We live her life along with her for the next 30 years, despairing at her misfortune, and exulting at her triumph. This is Whoopi Goldberg in her first and finest performance, before being closeted by Hollywood into stereotypical roles. Danny Glover is terrific in portraying the physical brutality and outward strength masquerading as masculinity while betraying a weakness of character and inner strength. Oprah Winfrey, a first-timer like Goldberg, is superb as the indomitable black woman who will not bow down to males or whites. The evocative Sister song! This is not a tale of a woman’s suffering, but of her enduring struggle and ultimate victory. The movie is not without flaws, but the story and performances are uniquely heart-rending.
When I first saw the film on the big screen in the mid-80s, I was young and impressionable. I cried and cried and wept in joy. When seeing it a few years ago, I did not break down emotionally, but was equally moved.
Citizen Kane, the legendary Welles masterpiece, that I’m still learning to appreciate
Casablanca, the legendary, most-cited, most-beloved film of all time
A Clockwork Orange, cited by some as a great film-making, but did not go down well with me at all. I felt like having been food-poisoned after watching the film. Not recommended by me.