Tuesday, April 23, 2013

338. Jalsaghar

The Music Room
Directed by Satyajit Ray

I was trolling YouTube awhile ago trying to find a good movie to watch and I came across this obscure film.  Now, though, I am well acquainted with Ray, having seen 2/3rds of Apu Trilogy.  After seeing what he is capable of, I would consider this the worst film of his I had seen.  That being said, it is still a beautiful picture.

Biswambhar Roy, a former lord who is on the verge of bankruptcy, decides to put on one last concert in order to show up his rich neighbor, Mahim Ganguly.  Ganguly is jealous of Roy's status while Roy is jealous of Ganguly's money.  A wicked dance off ensues, which, unfortunately, does not involve any street gangs.

I am trying to say this in the most sophisticated way I can.  Man, was that boring.  Everyone seems to recognize that the film is slow-paced but they say that emphasizes the desperation and melancholy.  Maybe I am just impatient, but I had had enough of the desperation and melancholy by the first hour and just wanted something to happen.

But, like I said, this is a beautiful film. Ray seems to be in love with the Indian environment and it shows in all his films.  Additionally, there is a nice little message here about the danger of wanting what you can't have or living in the past.  Still, it drags and for that, it only gets three stars.

RATING: ***--

Interesting Facts:

Panned by Indian critics but praised by European critics.


  1. Frankly I liked The Music room better than the Apu trilogy. Of course it is a long slide into despair, but at least it is a beautiful, even hypnotic slide. In any case another movie to remind me why I am not crazy about India.

  2. I've defended Indian cinema (some times a bit half heartedly) before, and my thughts are decidedly on TS's side here.
    There is no denying that 'Apu' has stunning cinema, but I certainly remember conceding that it had a decided tendency to be more than a tad 'misery by time table' (It's 15 mins since the last tragedy, someone has to die soon, and I bet it's mothers turn)
    But I'm going to defend this one.. I really liked it.

  3. I'm not qualified to say what's good or bad in 60 year-old Bengali cinema, but I couldn't find anything in this to engage me. Something to be endured as best as one can, like waiting for a bus. Still, one more ticked off the list.