Showing posts with label Satyajit Ray. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Satyajit Ray. Show all posts

4 August 2017

THE CRITERION COLLECTION PRESENTS: THE MUSIC ROOM. (1958) REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS.

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10 July 2013

BFI To Bring Satyajit Ray’s The Big City To Cinema's Across UK.

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On 16 August the BFI brings Satyajit Ray’s The Big City to cinemas across the UK. This richly absorbing tale of family and city life from the master of Bengali cinema is set in mid-50s Calcutta, a society still adjusting to Independence and gripped by social and financial crisis.

The film’s nationwide release will coincide with a two-month complete retrospective of the director’s work at BFI Southbank during August and September.

Subrata Mazumdar (Anil Chatterjee), a young bank clerk struggling to support his entire extended family on a meagre salary, firmly believes that ‘a woman’s place is with her cooking pots’. Unsurprisingly, he experiences conflicting emotions when his wife Arati (Madhabi Mukherjee) helps out by taking a job as a door-to-door ‘salesgirl’ peddling knitting machines to rich housewives. Though shy and nervous to begin with, Arati soon proves a huge success, relishing her new-found independence (not to mention the joys of lipstick) and thoroughly upsetting the family dynamic.

Bengali star Madhabi Mukherjee, with her expressive frown and mischievous smile, gives a ravishing, spirited performance as Arati. This was Mukherjee’s first film with Ray (she was later to star in his Charulata) and she confessed herself ‘stunned’ by his extraordinary ‘woman-centred’ screenplay, so different from anything she had previously encountered. Indeed, Ray originally considered calling the film ‘A Woman’s Place’.

Yet, for all his focus on Arati’s problems, Ray – who is renowned for his breadth of sympathy – also deploys warmth, abundant humour and deep psychological insight in his depiction of a large, multi-generational cast of characters, including Arati’s conservative old father-in-law, her studious teenage sister-in-law, her feisty Anglo-Indian colleague and her benevolently despotic boss.

For this new restoration of The Big City, undertaken in India, the original negative was scanned at a high resolution (2K), enabling the film’s epic scale and intimate detail – from the portrayal of bustling urban life to the exquisite play of emotions on Arati’s face – to emerge in greater beauty and clarity.

Now re-released by the BFI to mark its fiftieth anniversary, The Big City, with its emphasis on conflicting social values – and most particularly on the role of women – feels as fresh and relevant as ever.



The Big City is part of The Sayjit Ray season next month at The BFI Southbank from 16th August, more details here.For listings of when The Big City will be playing near you please check with your local independent/Arthouse cinema for exact dates.