One doesn’t get far when exploring world cinema before the name ‘Satyajit Ray’ pops up. In one of those remarkable uses of television as an archaeological device, Channel 4 has been screening Ray’s films at about 1am every morning from yesterday until Tuesday. It’s part of a celebration of Indian cinema, which is 100 years old this year. Personally, I have only seen his terrific debut film, Pather Panchali, and thus am very excited to discover more of his work. He often took control over many aspects of his productions, from casting non-professionals to even designing the promotional material. Besides feature films, he also made shorts, documentaries, criticism, illustrations and authored his own series of children’s books.
Here is a photo of Ray at the Taj Mahal with his contemporaries, Michelangelo Antonioni and Akira Kurosawa:
Though Artificial Eye have released four box sets of his work for about £20 a piece, his most famous work, the Apu Trilogy, can be found on YouTube. Channel 4 have chosen to broadcast some of his lesser known films: Charulata is on tonight at 12:40am, Nayuk at 1:05am Monday morning and finally Aguntak at 1:35am Tuesday. All are available in HD.
Here is an illustration of Charlie Chaplin by Ray: