Friday through Sunday
Teen Kanya (Three Daughters, 1955)
This is a trilogy, with three separate short films.
The Postmaster: Newly arrived from Calcutta, Nandalal takes a position as the postmaster of a tiny rural village in Bengal. He has for his servant Ratan, a young orphan girl. She is illiterate, but he teaches her how to read and write. When Nandalal falls ill, Ratan nurses him back to health. Nonetheless, he eventually decides to return to Calcutta, unaware of how attached to him Ratan has become. “A pure and simple small masterpiece.” Pauline Kael. With Anil Chatterjee (Nandalal), Chandana Banerjee (Ratan).
Monihara: In this unusual ghost story, a wealthy man loses everything because of his wife’s obsession with jewels. With Kali Banerjee (Phanibhusan Saha), Kanika Majumdar (Manimalika), Kumar Roy (Madhusudhan), Gobinda Chakravarty (Schoolmaster and narrator).
Samapti: Returning from Calcutta after passing his exams, Amulya spends a few days with his mother, who has arranged for him to marry the daughter of a respectable family. He suggests a different bride, a mischievous adolescent girl whose family has lost their home. The mother finally agrees; but after a difficult wedding night, Amulya cannot face his new circumstances. With Soumitra Chatterjee (Amulya), Aparna Das Gupta (Mrinmoyee).
Directed and written by Satyajit Ray. Satyajit Ray Productions. Based on three short stories, Postmaster, Samapti and Monihara by Rabindranath Tagore. Photographed by Soumendu Roy. Edited by Dulal Dutta. Art direction by Bansi Chandragupta. Music by Satyajit Ray. 171 minutes.
Plays Friday through Sunday (January 18-20) at 4:25.
Charulata (The Lonely Wife, 1964)
The location is Calcutta, around 1880. Bhupati, who edits and publishes in his home a political newspaper called The Sentinel, is persuaded that his wife Charulata has special gifts as a writer. When his young cousin Amal comes to live with them, Bhupati asks him to encourage her cultural interests. An increasingly intimate relationship develops between Charulata and Amal.
Meanwhile, another family member embezzles the funds and destroys Bhupati’s hopes for The Sentinel. All he has left is the trust he has placed in Charulata, which now seems compromised.
Charulata is a work of extraordinary richness, humanity, and poetic sensibility. When pressed, Ray identified it as his very best film.
With Madhabi Mukherjee (Charulata), Soumitra Chatterjee (Amal), Sailen Mukherjee (Bhupati), Shyamal Ghosal (Umapada), Gitali Roy (Mandakini), Bholanath Koyal (Braja).
Directed and written by Satyajit Ray. Based on the novel Nastanirh (The Broken Nest) by Rabindranath Tagore. Photographed by Subrata Mitra. Music by Satyajit Ray. 117 minutes.
Plays Friday through Sunday (January 18-20) at 7:30.
Mahanagar (The Big City, 1963)
An unassuming employee of a bank in Calcutta has problems providing for the needs of his family. Against established custom, his wife looks for a job. She is successful in her work and gains untraditional self-confidence, but her husband finds it hard to accept the situation. When he loses his job, however, his wife’s work becomes even more essential.
A crisis develops at the office when her friend is unjustly punished by the boss. She resigns on principle but worries about the future. Her husband has gained a new respect for his wife, and they now face the future as partners: “What a big city. So many different jobs. There must be something somewhere for one of us.”
This remarkable film manages to deal sympathetically with the situation of a capable and ambitious woman in a traditional society without denying the humanity of the men in her story.
“One of the very best films we have ever shown at the Stanford Theatre.” David W. Packard.
With Anil Chatterjee (Subrata Mazumdar), Madhabi Mukherjee (Arati Mazumdar), Jaya Badhuri (Bani), Haren Chatterjee (Priyagopal), Vicky Redwood (Edith Simmons).
Directed and written by Satyajit Ray. Produced by R.D. Bansal & Co. Based on the short story Abataranika by Narendranath Mitra. Photographed by Subrata Mitra. Edited by Dulal Dutta. Art direction by Bansi Chandragupta. Music by Satyajit Ray. 131 minutes.
Plays Friday through Sunday (January 18-20) at 9:40; plus additional matinee Sat/Sun at 2:00.