Sog.: dal romanzo omonimo di Bibhutibhushan Banerjee. Scen.: Satyajit Ray. F.: Subrata Mitra. M.: Dulal Dutta. Scgf.: Bansi Chandragupta. Mus.: Ravi Shankar. Int.: Kanu Banerjee (Harihar, padre di Apu), Karuna Banerjee (Sarbajaya, madre di Apu), Subir Banerjee (Apu), Chunibala Devi (Indir Thakrun), Uma Das Gupta (Durga), Runki Banerjee (Durga piccola), Reba Devi (Sejo Thakrun), Aparna Devi (la moglie di Nilmoni), Tulsi Chakraborty (Prasanna), Haren Banerjee (Chinibas). Prod.: Government of West Bengal · DCP. Bn.
Satyajit Ray’s first film was made with an absurdly small budget. It is the first of three chapters of the story of Apu, which when Ray set out to make it he had no idea that it would have turned into a trilogy. It is the first Indian film d’auteur, totally unrelated to the traditional rules and genres of national production. Especially of note is that there are no songs. Looking for the universal, the film finds it in the description of a very particular context: a remote Bengali village at the beginning of the century, a tiny fragment of a world where ancient rituals and balance still persist, even if already on the path to irreversible and profound change. (So much so that religious rites are no longer sufficient for the livelihood of officiators). Apu, the son of an impoverished Brahmin who is still full of dreams and optimism and a mother hardened by the difficulties of daily life, awakens to the world in a family where his parents are often in conflict while being surrounded by a vastly peaceful village. He discovers a world of relations and beliefs that seem to still be part of eternity. But this eternity is coming to an end: it soon will shatter, and Apu’s future experiences will illustrate better its fragmentation. For now, an apparent stillness and serenity draw a silent cover over the rustling of intense subterranean unrest: a palpable sensation communicated by a movie that is the first stage of a long coming-of-age story and that ends significantly with the beginning of a journey.
Jacques Lourcelles, Dictionnaire du cinéma. Les films, Robert Laffont, Paris 1992