‘The World of Apu’ a heartfelt drama

Stephanie Melchiore

“The World of Apu” concludes the highly-acclaimed trilogy by India’s premiere film auteur, Satyajit Ray.

The 1959 film is based on Bibhutibhushan Bandopadhaya’s novel “Aparajito,” which follows the life of a Bengali boy named Apu.

This installment of the Apu chronicles is preceded by 1955’s “Pather Panchali” and 1956’s “Aparajito.” In this finale, Apu has graduated from college and is living in poverty-stricken Calcutta.

With no job, no family and no way of paying the last three months of rent, he risks losing what little he has left. A writer who believes he has the makings of a decent novel, Apu is reminded by a friend that he has not acquired the experiences necessary to know what he is writing about.

Ray sets the rest of the film in motion when Apu finds himself married to a stranger.

The second act of the story follows the progression of their relationship.

Ray masterfully portrays the initial awkwardness and eventual affection and love felt between Apu and his wife. Finally, with sudden tragedy, the final piece of the film enables audiences to follow Apu’s despair and resentment through eventual acceptance and epiphany.

Ray originally intended to direct only two films about Apu. However, after audiences fell in love with the story and hoped for at least one more addition to Apu’s tale, Ray conceded to culminate Apu’s life through one last film.

“The World of Apu” provides a wonderful insight into the life of the protagonist, as Ray allows us to enter Apu’s world and witness his growth through personal struggles.

Although this is the third film, Ray depicts the story in such a way that this film can stand on its own.

Overall, “The World of Apu” is another masterpiece directed by Ray that is able to touch viewers from all over the world on some level.

“The World of Apu” is the second feature in Villanova’s Spring Cultural Film & Lecture Series. It will be shown in its native language-Bengali-with English subtitles four times in the Connelly Cinema: Saturday at 7 p.m., Sunday at 3:30 and 7 p.m. and Monday at 7 p.m.

Admission is free for students with ID and $5 for all others. Guest speakers, appearing only at the Monday screening, will be cineastes Dan Jefferson and Susan Marcosson, and they will provide an intro to the film and lead a discussion afterward.

For more information, contact the communication department at x9-4750 on weekdays between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., or consult the CFS Web site: www.culturalfilms.villanova.edu.