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Aparajito

Even as the middle segment of a trilogy, this was my introduction to Satyajit Ray, and is one of the greatest films I've seen. The neo-realist leanness the film is completely absorbing andand is perfectly matched to the characters. Aparajito is distinctive in capturing the spirit of place and is graceful, original, and memorable. I don't want to overstate it, but this is a really beautiful, haunting film - from it's warmest to it's most tragic elements.

I can never forget the scenes where Sarbojaya carefully packs Apu's suitcase before his trip, adding a jar of home made butter and pleading with him to write soon or the scene in which the mother and son meet after a long separation, and her first comment is that he has grown taller and doesn't appear to be eating well.

One aspect of Ray's mastery is that, even though he creates unique worlds for his stories, the films' basic, universal truths allow them to speak directly to the hearts of each viewer. Standing above fashion, it creates a world so convincing that it becomes, for a time, another life I might have lived.