Janus Films has announced it will release a brand new 4k restoration of master filmmaker Satyajit Ray’s seminal “The Apu Trilogy,” complete with new subtitles, this summer.
The trilogy, made up of “Pather Panchali” (“Sons of the Little Road”), “Aparajito” (“The Unvanquished”) and “Apur Sansar” (“The World of Apu”), is famous for bringing India into the golden age of international arthouse cinema. Based on two books by Bibhutibhusan Banerjee, “The Apu Trilogy” follows a free-spirited child in rural Bengal who matures into an adolescent urban student and finally a sensitive man of the world. The films, shot over the course of five years and featuring different actors playing the maturing Apu, are essential works for any film lover.
The restoration is rather remarkable considering a fire severely damaged the original negatives in 1993. Whatever was left of the original negatives was salvaged by the Academy Film Archive and it wasn’t until the technology improved that this restoration was made possible. The Criterion Collection, in association with the Academy Film Archive at The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, teamed up with L’Immagine Ritrovata in Bologna, one of the world’s premiere restoration facilities, to bring the film back to life. Over a thousand hours of meticulous hand labor were spent rehydrating the brittle film, rebuilding sprocket perforations on the sides of the film and removing melted tape, glue and wax. Emphasis for the restoration was placed on retaining the look and character of the original material.
Janus Films will begin a national re-release in New York City at Film Forum on Friday, May 8 and in Los Angeles at Landmark’s Nuart Theater on Friday, May 29. The films will play at the country’s top arthouse cinemas throughout the summer.