Satyajit Ray: Where to start?
I'm still quite new to "seriously" watching movies, and one of my goals for 2013 is to get more educated in the masters of the craft, and I figured Satyajit Ray would be a good place to start. I know he has a great reputation, but his filmography as a whole is rather intimidating. So, for a complete Ray newbie, where should I start?
Thanks ahead of time.
Apu Trilogy is the best place to start, honestly. Start with Pather Panchali and then go from there.
For what's readily available, though, The Music Room is as good a place as any and available from Criterion. It'll give you a good footing on Ray's aesthetic ability and the culture into which you'll be operating.
Darbicus is right. The Apu trilogy for the uninitiated, and The Music Room is excellent.
If you feel like exploring further after that, I highly recommend The Big City and Charulata. The Chess Players is good too. I really want to see Distant Thunder, which was on Hou Hsiao-Hsien's top ten list. Richard Brody recently wrote about it in his New Yorker "DVD of the week" column, which was strange, since it doesn't appear to be on DVD anywhere?
I haven't seen as much Ray as I should have, but I started with Devi and it immediately became one of my favorite movies. Despite Ray's own claims, his films are hard not to love on a basic human level.
Distant Thunder certainly ranks among Ray's greatest works...and last I checked it wasn't on DVD, but it is on youtube.
Originally Posted by Cricket
Charulata is great to start with. Apu Trilogy is a must. The actor in the final sequel Apur Sansar, Soumitra Chatterjee, won India's highest cinema honour last year -- the Dadasaheb Phalke award. I also watched him on stage as Raja Lear, King Lear staged in Bengali. Superb actor. Why. He sang too recently -- for an ad jingle!! Take a look and be amazed -- http://bit.ly/Soumitra