Chicagoans had the distinguished luxury of catching Satyajit Ray’s preeminent Apu Trilogy – Pather Panchali, Aparajito, and Apur Sansar – earlier this June at the Music Box theatre. Those who missed that initial engagement (and those, like myself, who are craving another look at these cinematic treasures) will be able to view Janus Films' 4K restored prints at . the Gene Siskel Film Center beginning this afternoon
Each respective film occupies a certain stage in a boy’s growth, from childhood (Pather Panchali) to adolescence (Aparajito) to adulthood (Apur Sansar). There’s a subdued majesty in watching Apu age as he encounters a life filled with trauma and loss as he attempts to maneuver from an impoverished Indian village to the bustling city of Calcutta. A clear extension to the Italian Neorealists, Ray’s trilogy would inspire an Indian cinema movement in itself, representing a formal realist approach that sheds light on a culture little seen by Westerners.
Under the supervision of the Criterion Collection (who will be releasing the trilogy on Blu-ray/DVD later this year), Janus Films, the Harvard Film Archive, the British Film Institute, and the Academy of Film Archives, attempts at a formal restoration of Ray’s renowned but underseen trilogy began as early as 2013. Two years of careful rendering and polishing resulted in this well-deserved restoration tour in what’s certainly the most vital revival of the year.