Today marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of filmmaker Satyajit Ray, considered one of the most influential directors not only in India but around the world. While we’ve seen plenty of celebrities write about this genius on social media, we go back to when popular Hollywood filmmaker Martin Scorsese gushed about the late director. The creator of Departed paid tribute to Satyajit Ray through a letter he wrote for Indian Express last year.
The director wrote: “In the relatively short history of cinema, Satyajit Ray is one of the names that we all need to know, that we all need to see in movies. And to review, as I do quite often. For those of us here in the West, the Apu trilogy – Pather Panchali (1955), Aparajito (1956) and Apur Sansar (1959) – was a milestone. We used to see India on screen but from a purely colonial perspective, which obviously meant that the main characters were Westerners and that the ‘extras’, the people who provided the local color and details of background, were Indians. We had no idea if the stories were set in Gujarat, Kashmir, West Bengal or Maharashtra – it was just “India”. “
Remember Manik da .. pic.twitter.com/BPXaHQx2NL
– Azmi Shabana (@AzmiShabana) May 1, 2021
He added: “The images told stories of everyday life in a vein that somewhat resembled Italian neorealism. What about art? The movie theater? It took my breath away. It was poetic, immediate, radical and intimate, all at the same time. I was fascinated. This remarkable close-up of Apu’s eye in Pather Panchali, the way the cut works with the sudden burst of music from Ravi Shankar – for me it was one of those precious moments of revelation that you have in a movie theater, and it had a profound and lasting effect on me as a filmmaker. And the trilogy was just the start of one of the greatest body of work in film history.
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