While I would eventually like to review each film of the Apu Trilogy in full, in the meantime, I am reposting my short review from The Oregonian, originally published in May 2014, to mark the release of the Criterion boxed set.
Satyajit Ray’s Apu Trilogy is a milestone of international cinema. Released between 1955 and 1959, the cycle of films follows the life of one Indian boy as he becomes a man, starting at the turn of the century and spanning decades.
The wandering adult Apu of “Apur Sansar (The World of Apu)” is a long way from the lively child of “Pather Panchali.” Joyful early years give way to sorrow and loss. By the end of middle film “Aparajito,” Apu is fending for himself.
Ray was influenced by Italian neorealism, and, in turn, you can see some of Apu in Francois Truffaut’s Antoine Doinel movies. Yet the Apu Trilogy is without peer in the director’s depiction of his particular corner of the world.