Satyajit Ray, one of the greatest auteurs of twentieth century cinema, was a Bengali motion-picture director, writer, and illustrator who set a new standard for Indian cinema with his Apu Trilogy: Pather Panchali (Song of the Little Road) (1955), Aparajito (The Unvanquished) (1956), and Apur Sansar (The World of Apu) (1959). His work was admired for its humanism, versatility, attention to detail, and skilled use of music. He was also widely praised for his critical and intellectual writings, which mirror his filmmaking in their precision and wide-ranging grasp of history, culture, and aesthetics.
Spanning forty years of Ray's career, these essays, for the first time collected in one volume, present the filmmaker's reflections on the art and craft of the cinematic medium and include his thoughts on sentimentalism, mass culture, silent films, the influence of the French New Wave, and the experience of being a successful director. Ray speaks on the difficulty of adapting literary works to screen, the nature of the modern film festival, and the phenomenal contributions of Jean-Luc Godard and the Indian actor, director, producer, and singer Uttam Kumar. The collection also features an excerpt from Ray's diaries and reproduces his sketches of famous film personalities, such as Sergei Eisenstein, Charlie Chaplin, and Akira Kurosawa, in addition to film posters, photographs by and of the artist, film stills, and a filmography. Altogether, the volume relays the full extent of Ray's engagement with film and offers extensive access to the thought of one of the twentieth-century's leading Indian intellectuals.
"The work of Satyajit Ray presents a remarkably insightful understanding of the relations between cultures, and his ideas remain pertinent to the great cultural debates in the contemporary world, not least in India.The New Republic" — Amartya Sen, The New RepublicNobel Laureate Economics
"Satyajit Ray is among the world's greatest directors, and has influenced so many other film makers in all parts of the world." — James Ivory
"Ray's magic, the simple poetry of his images and their emotional impact, will always stay with me." — Martin Scorsese
"A joy to read...highly recommended" — Choice
"Simultaneously lyrical and substantive, Satyajit Ray on Cinema captures the aesthetic spirit of the director, graphic designer, painter, storyteller, fabulist, and, here, chronicler of the coming-of-age of cinema." — Keya Ganguly, author of Cinema, Emergence, and the Films of Satyajit Ray
Preface: Sandip Ray
Foreword: Shyam Benegal
PART ONE: THE FILM-MAKER'S CRAFT
1. National Styles in Cinema
2. Notes on Filming Bibhuti Bhusan
3. Should a Film-maker Be Original?
4. This Word 'Technique'
5. All These Devices
6. The Changing Face of Films
7. The Question of Reality
8. The Confronting Question
9. A Film Must Achieve Its Objective
10. Thoughts on the Camera
11. 'I Wish I Could Have Shown Them to You'
12. The New Cinema and I
13. Under Western Eyes
14. The Art of Silence
PART TWO: PEN PORTRAITS
15. A Word about Godard
16. The New Antonioni
17. The Nayak
18. 'Never Use Animals'
19. The Immortal Tramp
PART THREE: CELEBRATING CINEMA
20. Arrival in Moscow
21. Film Festivals
22. Our Festivals, Their Festivals
Satyajit Ray's Contributions to Films Other Than His Own
Awards won by Satyajit Ray
Preserving a Legacy
Read Satyajit Ray on Jean-Luc Godard and Michelangelo Antonioni (to view in full screen, click on icon in bottom right-hand corner)