Year: 1955
UK: Contemporary Films
Cast: Kanu Banerjee, Karuna Banerjee, Subir Banerjee, Chunibala Devim, Runki Banerjee, R Haren Banerjee, Tulsi , Nibhanoni Devilical, Rama Gangopadhaya, Roma Ganguli Binoy Mukherjee, Harimohan Nag j Kshirod, Uma Das Gupta
Director: Satyajit Ray
Country: India
Language: Bengali
UK: 121 mins
UK Release Date: 26 August 2005 (Limited Re-release - London)
UK Release Date: 3 May 2002 (Limited Re-release - London)


Satyajit Ray was one of the greatest artists of the twentieth century. His thirty or so films put India on the map of world cinema. PATHER PANCHALI (SONGS OF THE LITTLE ROAD) is his extraordinary debut feature (1955): the first instalment in the Apu Trilogy (followed by APARAJITO (THE UNVANQUISHED) (1956) and APUR SANSAR (THE WORLD OF APU) (1959). PATHER PANCHALI is adapted from Bibhutibhushan Banerjee's 1929 novel and tells the story of Apu, a young boy born into a poor but loving family, living in a rural Bengali village. When his father a poet and priest leaves for the city to pursue his dream of becoming a playwright, Apu's mother is left to struggle to take care of his sister and elderly aunt. Enormously touching in its simplicity, emotional sweep and visual beauty, Pather Panchali was the first Indian film to achieve widespread international acclaim and established Ray as a master filmmaker.

The exclusive screening at The Chelsea Cinema on August 26, 2005, marks the 50th anniversary of release of PATHER PANCHALI in India in 1955. The film's first screening was at MOMA in New York in 1955. It was later shown at the Cannes Film Festival in 1956 when it won a Special Jury Prize for 'Best Human Document'.

In addition a new book, 'Satyajit Ray a Vision of Cinema' by Andrew Robinson, showing the mystery of movie creativity in unique close up will be published in Hardback on 30 August, 2005 by I.B Tauris.

Ray was born in Calcutta in May 1921, an only child. His grandfather was a distinguished Bengali writer, illustrator and printer, and his father Dukumar Ray was famous as a writer and illustrator of Bengali nonsense verse.

What makes Ray unparalleled in cinema is his versatility. No director was more personally responsible for his films than Ray. He wrote his scripts solo, and they were often original screenplays. He designed the sets and costumes down to the smallest details. He acted out the roles for his actors with consummate nuance. He operated the camera and he edited each frame. He composed the music, scoring it in a mixture of western and Indian notation. He even designed the credits and posters, having earlier worked as a professional graphic designer and illustrator.

Just before his death in April 1992, aged 70, Satyajit Ray was awarded an Oscar for lifetime achievement. In an interview with Time magazine, he said: "The most distinctive feature of my films is that they are deeply rooted in Bengal, in Bengali culture, mannerisms and mores. What makes them universal in appeal is that they are about human beings."

Filmed in black and white.