Saturday, March 30, 2013

322. Aparajito

The Unvanquished
Directed by Satyajit Ray

This is the second film of the Apu trilogy, the previous one being Pather Pacali.  I wasn't exactly eagerly awaiting the next installment of this series, mostly because the films are depressing as hell while still managing to be slightly dull.  Still, I gave this movie the benefit of the doubt and it wasn't entirely awful.

So first of all, what is the deal with this trilogy being listed as three separate movies while The Lord of the Rings trilogy is listed as one film? Talk about cutting corners…

Anyway, there is no real way to explain the plot of this film, without spoiling the first movie.  Let's just say that Apu's family has now moved but misfortunes still follow them wherever they go.  There is really no beginning or end, which is a common flaw in the second installment of trilogies.

I am trying to be nice about this film, but really, it is painful to sit through.  I don't mind sad movies, but when one tragedy after another happens, it is just tedious.  I suppose it is beautifully shot, but that is really the only thing I have to say about it.  I have high hopes for the next film, however, due to the way this one ended.

RATING: **---

Interesting Facts:

Ray was never quite sure if he was going to complete a cohesive trilogy, even after this film.  Maybe that is why The Book listed them as separate movies?

Time Magazine listed this as one of the 100 best films.


  1. How do you cope with a movie that moves from disaster to disaster? It is just misery with misery on top.

  2. Do you have the right photo there?

    Best not to think too deeply about listmakers' criteria for trilogies, standalone films, TV movies etc. But the each of the three Apu movies was made without any intention to make any more whereas Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings was one single story which all got a green light from the studio at the same time and makes no sense if you only watched one of the films. I'm sure Jackson would have happily made it into a single ten-hour movie if he thought people would stay in a cinema that long

    I'll be honest, I started to watch the first ten minutes of Aparajito several months ago. But I got tired and switched it off. And every time I considered watching list films again I knew I had this to start with and it put me off. But I finally got around to it last night and it wasn't so bad. Objectively I'd say it was quite good, even if it's not really my type of film.

  3. Another I'm surprised I hadn't butted in on at the time, as I feel I did say something...
    I can fully understand every negative comment about all three of these.. they really do wallow in misery - misery porn I've oft seen it described.. True... although it's the rather tedious predictability about it all... So-and-so gets a job, but has to borrow money to get it.. Guaranteed it's a con, or he will lose the job whilst still in debt.. Any important elderly member of the family will die.. Anyone going off to the city will succumb to the vices or temptations when away from the village, any one step forward will ievitably come with a mirror one step back. Hey, look at the clock, it's 15 mins since the last disaster, who is due for a tumble now..
    Oh dear..
    But aren't they beautifully shot?
    I've forgotten which film, (I think it's the first one) but one image is still embedded in my memory.. the waving field of grass and a distant train.. Stunning.

    And I totally agree with Dessie about when is a series of films a three film trilogy, and when is it one film in bits. Well put, thank you

    1. Train on the horizon was this film. I meant to mention it, actually. Quite a few scenes started with it crossing the shot in the distance. It did make me wonder how long they sometimes had to wait; set up the shot, everyone in position in case it's early, then wait, wait, wait until the damn train finally appeared and they could start the scene. There must have been times when someone missed their cue or forgot their lines and the whole crew had to wait for the next train tomorrow before the retake?