Dilip K. Basu, the founding director of the Satyajit Ray Center at the University of California at Santa Cruz and Satyajit Ray Society in Calcutta, India, will be at the Walter Reade from April 15 to the 18 to introduce several of Ray's films. Professor Basu is the author and editor of two forthcoming books : Satyajit Ray’s Goddess: Story to Film and Mirrors of Modernity: Essays on Satyajit Ray’s Cinema.
“To have not seen the films of Ray is to have lived in the world without ever having seen the moon and the sun.”—Akira Kurosawa
Little excuse is ever needed to re-examine the work of one of cinema’s greatest auteurs, but the recent spike of interest in India—from its propitious emergence as a major economic power to the worldwide success of Slumdog Millionaire — make this an especially apt moment to witness and celebrate the achievements of Satyajit Ray. Born into a Bengali family in 1921, Ray was working in advertising when he met Jean Renoir, in India scouting locations for The River. Upon hearing a description of the story that would become Pather Panchali, Renoir encouraged the young cinephile to try his hand at filmmaking, but it was not until Ray saw Bicycle Thieves in London in 1950 that he resolved to become a director. Using his personal savings and scant government loans, Ray completed Pather Panchali in just under three years—and the rest is cinematic history. Born under the cinematic sign of the realist movement, Ray excelled through meticulous renderings of his settings (immeasurably aided by art director Bansi Chandragupta) and vivid, uncompromising portrayals of the rhythms of life as his characters would have lived them. A Ray film invites you in, but also demands that you accept it on its own terms, and those who open themselves to Ray’s method are in for some of the richest experiences the cinema has to offer.
For Today's Schedule and to purchase tickets online click
Read Master of the House: A giant of world cinema’s golden age, Satyajit Ray held up a mirror to Bengal’s middle class by Nicolas Rapold, from the March/April 2009 issue of Film Comment.
This series focuses on what was roughly the first half of Ray’s film career, in which the tensions between East and West, old and new, and even city and country are especially prevalent. This series is also a tribute to the work of the Satyajit Ray Preservation Project at the Academy Film Archive in Los Angeles, which together with the Satyajit Ray Film and Study Center at the University of California-Santa Cruz has done so much to preserve and promote the work of this major film artist for future generations. The archive is currently hard at work restoring the rest of Ray’s films. We hope to be able to present a series built around the second half of Satyajit Ray’s career in the not-so-distant future.
This unique series of film screenings is presented by the Film Society of Lincoln Center and the Institute for Comparative Literature and Society at Columbia University in collaboration with the Satyajit Ray Film and Study Center at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and the Satyajit Ray Preservation Project at the Academy Film Archive in Los Angeles.
Conference on Satyajit Ray Saturday, April 25, 9am-6pm Free and open to the public Furman Gallery, Walter Reade Theater
In conjunction with this series a major conference on Satyajit Ray will be held on Saturday, April 25, bringing together scholars, film-makers, and critics from India and the United States to discuss his work.
The conference will include a keynote lecture from Robert Young (Silver Professor of English and Comparative Literature, New York University) and talks by Benjamin Conisbee Baer (Assistant Professor in Comparative Literature at Princeton), Samik Banerjee (Theatre, film and arts critic; Vice Chairman, National School of Drama, India), Shyam Benegal (Filmmaker), Moinak Biswas (Film Studies Professor, Jadavpur University; Editor, Journal of the Moving Image), Marcia Landy (Distinguished Professor of English and Film Studies, Secondary Appointment in the French and Italian Department, University of Pittsburgh), Mira Nair (President, Mirabai Films; Filmmaker/Director) and Ashish Rajyadhyaksha (Centre for the Study of Culture and Society, Bangalore).
The Walter Reade Theater's concession stand will be open throughout the day for coffee and light refreshments.
9:30 Keynote Address: Ray, Ventriloquism, and Illusion
Robert Young (Silver Professor of English and Comparative Literature, New York University)
10:30-12:00 Panel: Realism and Ray
Marcia Landy (Distinguished Professor of English and Film Studies, Secondary Appointment in the French and Italian Department, University of Pittsburgh)—“The Voyages of Neorealism and Ray's Cinema”
Mira Nair (President, Mirabai Films; Filmmaker/Director)—“FROM APU TO GOGOL: Saluting Ray in The Namesake”
Ashish Rajyadhyaksha (Centre for the Study of Culture & Society, Bangalore)—“ Realism As Theory: Melodrama As Practice”
12:00-1:30 Lunch on your own
1:30-3:00 Panel: Ray and Global Modernity
Shyam Benegal (Filmmaker)—“Satyajit Ray, Filmmaker”
Benjamin Conisbee Baer (Assistant Professor of Comparative Literature, Princeton University)—“Responding to the Fellow Travelers”
Samik Bandyopadhyay (Theatre, Film and Arts Critic; Vice Chairman, National School of Drama, India)—“Cinema Reads History: A Ray Moment”
3:00-3:15 Refreshment break on your own
3:15-4:45 Panel: Ray's Legacy and Influence
Michael Wood—“The Inheritance of Time”
Moinak Biswas (Film Studies Professor, Jadavpur University; Editor, Journal of the Moving Image)—“ Ray and the Shadow of Political Cinema”
Richard Terdiman (Professor of Literature and of the History of Consciousness, University of California, Santa Cruz; former Director of UCSC’s Satyajit Ray Film and Study Center)—“Fifth Avenue, 1958: How America Encountered Satyajit Ray”
4:45-6:00 Plenary discussion followed by a brief wine and cheese reception