DEVI


Title   Cast   Director   Year Shown  Other Info    Country  Notes 




India, 1960, 93 min

Shown in 1992

CREDITS

dir
Satyajit Ray
prod
Satyajit Ray
scr
Satyajit Ray
cam
Subrata Mitra
editor
Dulal Dutta
mus
Ali Akbar Khan
cast
Chhabi Biswas, Soumitra Chatterjee, Sharmila Tagore, Karuna Banerjee, Purnendu Mukherjee, Arpan Chowdhury, Anil Chatterjee, Kali Sarkar

OTHER

source
Films Inc.

COMMENTS

Listed in the 1961 Festival catalogue as The Goddess, but never shown because the distributor claimed it got lost in transit. It was replaced by The Testament of Orpheus by Jean Cocteau. Shown in 1992 when Satyajit Ray recieved the Akira Kurosawa Award. Satyajit Ray was scheduled to appear at the Festival but died on the same day as the opening of the 1992 Festival.

Satyajit Ray’s dreamily sensual, ironic film about Indian superstitiousness was originally banned from export until Nehru interceded. The story, about a wealthy man who convinces his son's bride that she is an incarnation of the goddess Kali, has startling Freudian undertones. Ray's feeling for the intoxicating beauty within the disintegrating way of life of the l9th-century landowning class makes this one of the rare, honest films about decadence... What we see is the girl's readiness to believe, her liquid acquiescence; not so much pride as a desire to please... And, surrounded by so much luxury, what is there for the girl to do but try to please? The whole indolent life is centered on pleasure. Ray creates an atmosphere that intoxicates us as well; the household is so rich and the rich people so overripe... And perhaps because of the camera work, which seems to derive from some of the best traditions of the silent screen and the ’30s, perhaps because of the Indian faces themselves, the eyes have depths—and a disturbing look of helplessness—that we are unused to. It's almost as if these people were isolated from us and each other by their eyes... Sharmila Tagore (Tagore's great-granddaughter), 14 when she played Apu’s bride, is the 17-year-old goddess; she is exquisite, perfect in both these roles.

—Pauline Kael, The New Yorker

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