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Henry Taylor
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How to Read Our Films Their Films by Satyajit Ray: A Guide for Film Lovers



Our Films Their Films Satyajit Ray Pdf 27: A Review of a Classic Book on Cinema




If you are a film lover, you have probably heard of Satyajit Ray, the legendary Indian filmmaker who is widely regarded as one of the greatest directors of all time. But did you know that he was also a brilliant writer, who wrote essays on various aspects of cinema, both Indian and international? In this article, we will review his book Our Films Their Films, which is a collection of his writings on film, published in 1992. We will explore why this book is a must-read for anyone who wants to understand the art and craft of filmmaking, as well as the history and culture of cinema.




Our Films Their Films Satyajit Ray Pdf 27



Introduction




Who was Satyajit Ray?




Satyajit Ray was born in Calcutta (now Kolkata) in 1921, into a family of artists and intellectuals. He studied at the Presidency College and the Visva-Bharati University, where he was exposed to various forms of art and literature. He started his career as a graphic designer and illustrator, working for an advertising agency and a publishing house. He also founded a film society with his friends, where he watched and discussed films from around the world.


Ray's interest in filmmaking was sparked by his encounter with the French director Jean Renoir, who visited Calcutta in 1949 to shoot his film The River. Ray assisted Renoir as an unofficial apprentice, and learned a lot from him about the techniques and aesthetics of cinema. He also read a lot of books on film theory and criticism, especially by Andre Bazin, the founder of the influential journal Cahiers du Cinema.


In 1950, Ray visited London for the first time, where he saw several films that inspired him to make his own. Among them was Bicycle Thieves, by the Italian neorealist director Vittorio De Sica, which showed him that cinema could be a powerful medium to depict the reality and emotions of ordinary people. Ray decided to adapt a novel by Bibhutibhushan Bandyopadhyay, called Pather Panchali, which told the story of a poor rural family in Bengal.


Ray faced many difficulties in making his first film, such as lack of funds, equipment, and professional actors. He had to shoot the film over several years, using his own savings and borrowing money from friends and relatives. He also had to learn the technical aspects of filmmaking by himself, such as cinematography, editing, and sound recording. He was helped by his collaborators, such as the composer Ravi Shankar, who provided the music for the film.


Despite all the challenges, Ray completed Pather Panchali in 1955, and premiered it at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. The film was a huge success, both critically and commercially, and won several awards, including the Best Human Document at the Cannes Film Festival. It also launched Ray's international career, and established him as one of the leading figures of world cinema.


What is Our Films Their Films?




Our Films Their Films is a book that contains Ray's essays on cinema, written between 1955 and 1976. The book is divided into two parts: Our Films, which deals with Indian cinema, and Their Films, which deals with world cinema. The essays cover a wide range of topics, such as film history, film criticism, film theory, film technique, film genres, film personalities, and film culture.


The essays are written in a clear and engaging style, reflecting Ray's deep knowledge and passion for cinema. They are also full of insights and anecdotes, drawn from Ray's own experiences as a filmmaker and a film lover. They show Ray's critical acumen and artistic vision, as well as his humanism and cosmopolitanism.


The book is not only a valuable source of information and analysis on cinema, but also a window into Ray's mind and personality. It reveals his tastes and preferences, his influences and inspirations, his joys and frustrations, his hopes and fears. It also shows his humility and generosity, his curiosity and openness, his honesty and integrity.


Why is this book important for film lovers?




This book is important for film lovers for several reasons. First of all, it is a rare opportunity to learn from one of the masters of cinema, who shares his wisdom and expertise on various aspects of filmmaking. Ray not only explains the technicalities and principles of cinema, but also illustrates them with examples from his own films and other films that he admired. He also gives practical advice and tips on how to make good films, how to watch films critically, and how to appreciate films aesthetically.


Secondly, this book is a treasure trove of information and opinions on cinema, both Indian and international. Ray discusses the history and evolution of cinema in different countries and regions, such as Hollywood, Europe, Japan, China, etc. He also evaluates the works and styles of various filmmakers, both famous and obscure, such as Chaplin, Renoir, Kurosawa, Bergman, De Sica, Fellini, Ghatak, Raymond, etc. He also explores the genres and themes of cinema, such as comedy, drama, thriller, fantasy, social realism, etc. He also comments on the issues and challenges of cinema, such as censorship, plagiarism, commercialism, etc.


Thirdly, this book is a testament to Ray's love and respect for cinema as an art form and a cultural phenomenon. Ray shows his admiration and appreciation for the films and filmmakers that inspired him and influenced him. He also shows his concern and care for the films and filmmakers that he criticized and challenged. He also shows his enthusiasm and curiosity for the films and filmmakers that he discovered and learned from. He also shows his vision and ambition for the films and filmmakers that he created and mentored.


In short, this book is a must-read for anyone who loves cinema, who wants to understand cinema, who wants to make cinema, or who wants to be inspired by cinema.


Part One: Our Films




Ray's views on Indian cinema




In this part of the book, Ray writes about Indian cinema, its history, its achievements, its problems, and its prospects. He analyzes the strengths and weaknesses of Indian cinema, its diversity and unity, its traditions and innovations. He also evaluates the works and styles of various Indian filmmakers, both contemporary and classical, such as Raj Kapoor, Guru Dutt, Bimal Roy, Mehboob Khan, V. Shantaram, Mrinal Sen, Adoor Gopalakrishnan, Shyam Benegal, etc.


The Apu Trilogy




One of the most celebrated achievements of Indian cinema is the Apu Trilogy, a series of three films directed by Ray, based on the novels by Bibhutibhushan Bandyopadhyay. The trilogy consists of Pather Panchali (1955), Aparajito (1956), and The World of Apu (1959). The trilogy follows the life of Apu, a boy from a poor rural family in Bengal, who grows up to become a writer and faces various joys and sorrows along the way.


The Apu Trilogy is widely regarded as a masterpiece of world cinema, for its realistic and poetic depiction of human life, its expressive and lyrical cinematography, its haunting and evocative music, and its natural and authentic performances. The trilogy has influenced many filmmakers around the world, such as Martin Scorsese, Akira Kurosawa, Abbas Kiarostami, Wes Anderson, etc.


In his essays, Ray explains how he made the trilogy, what challenges he faced, what choices he made, and what effects he achieved. He also reflects on the themes and meanings of the trilogy, such as childhood and adulthood, poverty and wealth, tradition and modernity, family and society, love and death, etc.


The Calcutta Trilogy




Another notable achievement of Indian cinema is the Calcutta Trilogy, a series of three films directed by Ray, set in the city of Calcutta (now Kolkata) in the 1970s. The trilogy consists of The Adversary (1970), Company Limited (1971), and The Middleman (1976). The trilogy depicts the lives of three young men from different social classes, who struggle to cope with the changes and challenges of urban life in a turbulent era.


The Calcutta Trilogy is widely praised for its realistic and critical portrayal of contemporary society, its sharp and witty dialogue, its dynamic and energetic editing, its subtle and ironic humor, and its complex and nuanced characters. The trilogy has influenced many filmmakers in India and abroad, such as Anurag Kashyap, Mira Nair, Ritesh Batra, etc.


In his essays, Ray discusses how he conceived the trilogy, what issues he addressed, what techniques he used, and what reactions he received. He also analyzes the themes and messages of the trilogy, such as alienation and identity, corruption and morality, politics and violence, ambition and compromise, etc.


The Humanist Approach




One of the most distinctive features of Indian cinema is its humanist approach, which emphasizes the dignity and diversity of human beings, their emotions and aspirations, their conflicts and resolutions, their joys and sorrows. Indian cinema often explores the social and cultural aspects of human life, such as family, religion, caste, class, gender, etc. It also reflects the historical and political contexts of human life, such as colonialism, independence, partition, democracy, etc.


In his essays, Ray praises the humanist approach of Indian cinema, and compares it with other approaches, such as realism, expressionism, surrealism, etc. He also exemplifies the humanist approach with his own films, and those of other filmmakers, such as Raj Kapoor, Guru Dutt, Bimal Roy, etc. He also critiques the limitations and pitfalls of the humanist approach, such as sentimentalism, melodrama, stereotyping, etc.


Ray's views on his own films




In this part of the book, Ray writes about his own films, their genesis, their production, their reception, and their evaluation. He gives detailed accounts of how he developed his stories, how he selected his cast and crew, how he shot his scenes, how he edited his footage, how he composed his music, how he marketed his films, how he dealt with critics and audiences, and how he assessed his achievements and failures.


Pather Panchali




some limitations and challenges in cinema such as their subtlety or their harmony or their conventionality etc. He also finds that music and sound can learn from other media or arts such as their techniques or their forms or their themes etc., but they also can teach other media or arts such as their possibilities or their variations or their innovations etc.


The Influence of Literature and Painting




A fourth topic that Ray writes about is the influence of literature and painting on cinema, which is the use of literary and pictorial elements to inspire or inform the cinematic elements in a film. Ray explains the basic types of influence of literature and painting on cinema, such as adaptation, quotation, reference, etc., and how they create different effects and impressions. He also explains the advanced types of influence of literature and painting on cinema, such as interpretation, transformation, criticism, etc., and how they create different styles and expressions.


Ray also compares the influence of literature and painting on cinema with other influences in other media or arts such as music or theater or photography etc., and finds that they have some similarities or differences. He finds that literature and painting have some advantages in influencing cinema such as their richness or their depth or their diversity etc., but they also have some limitations and challenges in influencing cinema such as their difference or their complexity or their specificity etc. He also finds that literature and painting can learn from cinema such as its techniques or its forms or its themes etc., but they also can teach cinema such as its possibilities or its variations or its innovations etc.


Conclusion




Summary of the main points




In this article, we have reviewed the book Our Films Their Films by Satyajit Ray, which is a collection of his essays on cinema, both Indian and international. We have explored why this book is a must-read for anyone who loves cinema, who wants to understand cinema, who wants to make cinema, or who wants to be inspired by cinema. We have summarized the main points of the book, such as:



  • Ray's views on Indian cinema, its history, its achievements, its problems, and its prospects.



  • Ray's views on his own films, their genesis, their production, their reception, and their evaluation.



  • Ray's views on world cinema, its history, its achievements, its problems, and its prospects.



  • Ray's views on film criticism and theory, their history, their achievements, their problems, and their prospects.



The legacy of Satyajit Ray and his book




This book is not only a valuable source of information and analysis on cinema, but also a window into Ray's mind and personality. It reveals his tastes and preferences, his influences and inspirations, his joys and frustrations, his hopes and fears. It also shows his humility and generosity, his curiosity and openness, his honesty and integrity.


This book is also a testament to Ray's love and respect for cinema as an art form and a cultural phenomenon. Ray shows his admiration and appreciation for the films and filmmakers that inspired him and influenced him. He also shows his concern and care for the films and filmmakers that he criticized and challenged. He also shows his enthusiasm and curiosity for the films and filmmakers that he discovered and learned from. He also shows his vision and ambition for the films and filmmakers that he created and mentored.


This book is also a legacy of Ray's contribution and influence to cinema as a filmmaker and a writer. Ray has made some of the most acclaimed and influential films of all time, such as Pather Panchali, Charulata, The Chess Players, etc., that have enriched and expanded the language and scope of cinema. Ray has also written some of the most insightful and inspiring essays on cinema, such as The Language of Cinema, The Art of Editing, The Role of Music and Sound, etc., that have enlightened and educated generations of film lovers, film students, film critics, and film makers.


How to get a copy of the book




If you are interested in reading this book, you can get a copy of it from various sources, such as:



  • The Internet Archive, where you can download a free PDF or EPUB version of the book from this link: https://archive.org/details/ourfilmstheirfil00rays



  • Google Books, where you can read a preview of the book from this link: https://books.google.com/books/about/Our_Films_Their_Films.html?id=wqMHAQAAIAAJ



  • Amazon, where you can buy a paperback or Kindle version of the book from this link: https://www.amazon.com/Our-Films-Their-Satyajit-Ray/dp/0786861223



  • Your local library or bookstore, where you can borrow or buy a copy of the book if they have it in stock.



We hope that you have enjoyed this article, and that you will enjoy reading the book as well. We also hope that you will watch some of Ray's films, and learn from his wisdom and experience. Thank you for your attention and interest.


FAQs




Here are some frequently asked questions about the book and the topic:



  • Q: Who is Satyajit Ray? A: Satyajit Ray is a legendary Indian filmmaker and writer, who is widely regarded as one of the greatest directors of all time. He is best known for his films such as Pather Panchali, Charulata, The Chess Players, etc., and his essays such as Our Films Their Films, The Language of Cinema, The Art of Editing, etc.



  • Q: What is Our Films Their Films? A: Our Films Their Films is a book that contains Ray's essays on cinema, both Indian and international. The book is divided into two parts: Our Films, which deals with Indian cinema, and Their Films, which deals with world cinema. The essays cover a wide range of topics, such as film history, film criticism, film theory, film technique, film genres, film personalities, and film culture.



  • Q: Why is this book important for film lovers? A: This book is important for film lovers for several reasons. First of all, it is a rare opportunity to learn from one of the masters of cinema, who shares his wisdom and expertise on various aspects of filmmaking. Secondly, it is a treasure trove of information and opinions on cinema, both Indian and international. Thirdly, it is a testament to Ray's love and respect for cinema as an art form and a cultural phenomenon.



  • Q: How can I get a copy of the book? A: You can get a copy of the book from various sources, such as the Internet Archive, Google Books, Amazon, or your local library or bookstore.



  • Q: What are some other books or films by or about Satyajit Ray that I can read or watch? A: Some other books by or about Satyajit Ray that you can read are The Apu Trilogy, The Complete Adventures of Feluda, Satyajit Ray on Cinema, Satyajit Ray: A Vision of Cinema, etc. Some other films by or about Satyajit Ray that you can watch are The Music Room, The Big City, Distant Thunder, Satyajit Ray: A Life in Cinema, etc.



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