Pretty much every year I tend to discover new favorite filmmakers of mine, I remember 2006 fondly since I discovered Ermanno Olmi's great films, and this year I was able to immerse myself in even more great filmmakers. This year I finally saw films from Chantal Akerman, Shindô Kaneto, Aki Kaurismaki, Guy Maddin, Mario Bava, Fernando Arrabal and Satyajit Ray. All those directors produced so much great work, but it's Ray's work that lingers in my mind constantly. The images and sounds of the Apu Trilogy are just sublime and it's one of those films like Kurosawa's Red Beard that has this feeling of total beauty. So lucky me, I got a Satyajit Ray box-set from amazon.co.uk that was released a few weeks ago, so some cinematic treasures await me.
So I finished watching The Big City (Mahanagar) by Satyajit Ray and this film in particular had this great touch of simplicity with so much underneath it's surface. I can't help but say that in some ways, this film gets some of the same emotions out of me that normally only Ozu Yasujiro gets. The story could be the plot of a random TV sitcom, as the wife decides to get a job which leads to her husband and the household having issues with her going out into the real world. But Ray manages to tell a story that flows freely, ends on such a poetic note and yet one never feels like it is watching something that is manipulative and it never comes across as a dishonest document&183; Along the way, Ray manages to question the totally sexist and xenophobic attitudes within the Indian middle class culture of the 1950s and the roles that are assigned to women. One very neat thing about Ray is his ability to be able to pack a lot of revealing information about the personalities of its characters within everyday dialogue in his films. It's a very beautiful film, and if you are interested in World Cinema, you should definitely go out of your way to seek anything by Satyajit Ray. I guess I should quote that famous quote from Kurosawa Akira, which is, "To have not seen the films of Ray is to have lived in the world without ever having seen the moon and the sun.". I'm planning on seeing Charulata (The Lonely Wife) this upcoming week, which Ray considers his personal favorite and the beautiful Madhabi Mukherjee (she added so much to The Big City that I wouldn't be able do justice to her work) returns again for another Ray film. **** out of ****.