contemporary films

Contemporary Films, 8 Dickenson Road, London, N8 9EN
Tel: + 44 (0)20 7482 6204

  Please contact us with any inquiries inquiries@contemporaryfilms.com
 

 INDIA


Agantuk (The Stranger)
The Chess Players
Company Limited
Days and Nights in the Forest
Goddess (Devi)
Pather Panchali
Pratidwandi (The Adversary)
Two Daughters
The World of Apu


Visit the
Satyajit Ray Foundation
website

 

 

AGANTUK (The Stranger)
(1991/Colour) Director: Satyajit Ray
"Agantuk" ("The Stranger") was Satyajit Ray's last film, and it shows all the virtues of a master artist in full maturity.

With the simplicity that comes with complete command of his medium, Ray begins his story with a letter. The recipient, Anila (Mamata Shankar), is a typical middle-class housewife living with her husband, Sudhindra (Deepankar De), and son in Calcutta; the letter writer is an uncle who left India 35 years ago, following his wanderlust to the far corners of the globe. Or at least that's who he claims to be. Anila hasn't actually seen her uncle since she was a baby, a fact that the uncle makes note of. Nevertheless, he calls on the family's sense of "traditional Indian hospitality" and asks to be taken in until he takes up his travels once more.

In laying out these details, Ray—by far India's most renowned director—works in the unhurried, observant style that made him one of the cinema's most respected filmmakers. His focus, as always, is the human elements. But he is also interested in ideas, and in that sense, "Agantuk" is more conceptual, more Shavian and less naturalistic than most of his earlier work.

THE CHESS PLAYERS
(1977, Colour) Director: Satyajit Ray
One of Satyajit Ray's most beautiful films: two fanatical chess players play game after game, while a bigger game of chess - a political one - is being played out around them. Richard Attenborough and Saeed Jaffrey give mesmeric and memorable performances.

COMPANY LIMITED
(1971/black-and-white) Director: Satyajit Ray
This powerful psychological drama follows a young executive's climb up the corporate ladder and his slow immersion into corruption, seen through the eyes of his young sister-in-law.

Shyamal (Barun Chanda) is an ambitious Marketing Manager in a British firm in Calcutta, manufacturing fans. He's married to Dolan, and lives in a company flat. He aspires to become the company director. For this he has to compete with a colleague who has a relative in the board of directors. The film boldly lays bare the price which is inevitably extracted, in the blind pursuit of material success.

DAYS AND NIGHTS IN THE FOREST
(1969, B/W) Director: Satyajit Ray
This is Ray's most overtly Renoir-ish film, almost a remake of Une Partie de Campagne. Here, however, it is not the French bourgeois family setting off for a picnic, but four young men leaving Calcutta for a few days in the country. Bringing with them their westernised careerist attitudes, their middle-class indifference to the lower orders, and a self-satisfaction that leaves them closed to experience...
      

GODDESS (DEVI)
(1960, B/W) Director: Satyajit Ray
In The Goddess Ray deals with a subject that figures only marginally in his other films: the field of popular religion. He shows us a conflict between the old and the new India, in the form of a clash between father and son, with the soul of the son's beautiful young wife as the prize.

PATHER PANCHALI
(1955 B/W) Director: Satyajit Ray
The first film in Satyajit Ray's famous "Apu Trilogy", it is the saga of an impoverished Brahmin family living in a small Bengali village. Haunting and evocative, it takes the hero through his early years up to adolescence.

      

TWO DAUGHTERS
(1961, B/W) Director: Satyajit Ray
Another prize-winning film from Satyajit Ray, based on stories by Rabindranath Tagore.

THE WORLD OF APU
(1958, B/W) Director: Satyajit Ray
The final part of Satyajit Ray's acclaimed 'Apu Trilogy', and a unique work in its own right. A visually brilliant film, demonstrating Ray's remarkable talent for making even the most commonplace event representative of our deepest feelings.
   

PRATIDWANDI (The Adversary)
(1972/B/W) Director: Satyajit Ray
Opening with negative black and white photography to signal a dreamlike sequence, Satyajit Ray signals that Pratidwandi (The Adversary) will differ from his previous work. Better known for his films about rural India (The Apu Trilogy) and for period pieces (The Music Room and Charulata), he tackles Calcutta's contemporary 1970's social and political issues directly with this film. Despite the subject matter and snippets of Buñuel-like surrealism, you can still identify Ray's signature temperament and style as the film reaches its final reel.

                      

 

© 2003-2014 Contemporary Films. All Rights Reserved.