The World of Apu (1959)

The World of Apu (Apur Sansar)
Directed by Sayajit Ray
Written by Sayajit Ray from a story by Bibhutibhushan Bandyopadhyay
Sayajit Ray Productions
Repeat viewing/FilmStruck
One of 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die

Apurba Roy: I’m invited to a wedding and I come home with the bride!

Ray saved the best in his Apu Trilogy for last.  The film combines great beauty with a sense of real intimacy.

Following the death of his older sister, father and mother in the previous films, Apu must quit college part way through due to lack of funds.  He has shown a considerable talent for writing while still in school and continues to write short stories and a first novel through the film.  He moves to Calcutta to try to find work but it is not easy to find a steady job to supplement the income he earns as a tutor.  Finally he must settle for a factory job totally outside his interests or talents.

Nonetheless, Apu enjoys his life and the new ideas and sights that surround him.  Poverty is not so bad while there is no responsibility that goes with it.

Then Apu’s best friend invites him to attend a relative’s wedding in his home village.  After the men get there, the family discovers the groom selected is “mad”.  Mother refuses to let the marriage go through.  Yet if the daughter is not married that very day, she will become unmarriageable (reason never really explained). The family prevails on a very reluctant Apu to take over groom duties.  He complies and must take his bride, a relative stranger, back to his sordid student quarters in the city.  In spite of everything, love grows fast and marriage is everything Apu could have dreamed it to be.  I think I’ll stop the plot summary right here

I love this movie.  My favorite aspects are the exquisite cinematography and the intimate details of daily existence that Ray manages to capture.  It all seems quite real.  The standard of acting goes up a notch when compared to the first two films.  The story continues to be sad but ends on a note of hope.  Highly recommended.

Clip – print quality on restored version is superb, much better than clip

4 thoughts on “The World of Apu (1959)

  1. This is indeed the best of the Apu trilogy. It just works a lot better than the previous movies as Ray has developed as a fimmaker. He is also better at balancing despair and hope and you do not feel like cutting your throat despite the heartbreak. The scenes with the boy meant a lot to me as I think it would to most people with small children. I am glad he chose to end the trilogy on a high note.

    • I probably would have given the edge to Pather Panthali before but I rewatch of this convinced me that it is equally beautiful with a stronger message about endurance.

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