If you’ve never seen Satyajit Ray’s The Apu Trilogy, you’re missing out, but you’re not alone. The films have been highly rare, and the existing prints and DVD transfers have been in sorry disrepair. And yet Ray’s films, including Pather Panchali (Song of the Little Road), Aparajito (The Unvanquished) and Apur Sansar (The World of Apu), are considered some of the best of all time, or at the very least some of the best to ever come out of India. Don’t you love how we care for our cinematic history?
All three films, originally from the ’50s, have now been restored by The Criterion Collection, and Janus Films will distribute the trilogy in theaters across the country starting on May 8, where the films will premiere at New York’s Film Forum. Criterion had been working on this restoration of some of Ray’s severely damaged negatives since 2013.
For years the technology was not available to salvage the original negatives, so it goes to show how fortunate we are to have this opportunity to see these films again. The Film Stage has a deeper look at the restoration process, and you can find more information about the restoration and tidbits about the films themselves over at Janus Films’ dedicated page for the trilogy.
You can expect a Criterion DVD and Blu-Ray release not far behind, as Criterion remastered Ray’s The Music Room several years back. But until then, here’s a first look at all three restored films, all three directed by Ray and scored by Ravi Shankar.
Also below, take a look at the national tour schedule for The Apu Trilogy (what, no Chicago date? Ugh!) via Janus Films:
Opens May 8
New York, NY – Film Forum
Opens May 22
Philadelphia, PA – Landmark Ritz at the Bourse
May 30–June 18
Baltimore, MD – The Charles
May 30–June 7
Houston, TX – The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
Vancouver, BC – The Cinematheque
Detroit, MI – Detroit Institute of Arts
Columbus, OH – Wexner Center for the Arts
Amherst, MA – Amherst Cinema