Saturday, 12 July 2014


Don't miss a single one of these great films on display at TIFF Bell Lightbox in the TIFF Cinematheque series "The Sun and the Moon: The Films of Satyajit Ray". From visionary programmer James Quandt, this is one of the most important retrospectives ever presented in Canada. If you care about cinema, you can't afford to miss even one. Heed the warning below!!! The Film Corner & Mr. Neeson mean business!!!

Few directors looked as cool as Satyajit Ray
when he had a cigarette dangling from his lips.

Sikkim (1972) Dir. Satyajit Ray 52mins. *****
Review By Greg Klymkiw

This exquisite portrait of life in the Himalayan kingdom of Sikkim was banned for many years in India and only recently has been revived and lovingly restored in 35mm. If all geographic documentaries were as intelligent, tasteful and compelling as this I'd be glued to whatever specialty channel was broadcasting them for hours, days, weeks, months, if not years on end. Thank God, for my life and general well being, that only Sikkim exists and towers well above the best of this genre of film. It has a simple, but effective structure - we're introduced to the kingdom, delivered a punchy informative history, follow the activities of its inhabitants, get to meet the royal family and finally follow a massive cultural festival in its glory. Ray, in his great dramas surely rivalled Ingmar Bergman in terms of capturing the indelible landscapes of the human face. Here, in this documentary, he continues the tradition. The film's gorgeously shot, beautifully written and expertly narrated by Ray himself. This is not only filmmaking at its finest, but an important slice of a time and place that now remains etched upon celluloid forever.

The Inner Eye (1972)
Dir. Satyajit Ray 20mins. ****

Review By Greg Klymkiw

This is probably one of the best, if not the best documentary portrait of a visual artist I've ever seen.

Ray focuses on the great Indian visual artist Binod Behari Mukherjee (with whom Ray studied). Ray again writes gorgeous narration, delivers it beautifully and captures the essence of this astounding treasure of Indian art by ultimately letting the man and the work speak for itself.

Ray delivers a deft series of biographical details, captures the artist's philosophies on art and life and maybe inadvertently opens a window upon Ray's great visual work as a filmmaker by the manner in which he presents Mukherjee's art.

Of course, the most extraordinary aspect of this tale is that the Master himself eventually went blind, but tapped into his "inner eye" to keep creating stunning work in spite of his handicap.

A truly beautiful and inspirational experience and Ray captures it in only 20 minutes. It's 20 minutes wherein life seems to stand still and we get a glimpse into one of fine art's great geniuses.

Bala (1976) Dir. Satyajit Ray 29mins. ***1/2
Review By Greg Klymkiw

Balasaraswati (known by her more popular diminutive stage name Bala) was already in her 60s when this documentary portrait of her was made. This prima ballerina who specialized in the art of the Bharatanatyam dance had continued to practice her art. Using a wealth of archival materials, Ray delivers the fascinating biographical details of her life, renders aspects of her contemporary life and frames everything within the context of two full dances. Ray captures her dancing simply and beautifully - once in the studio, and again out against a stunning natural backdrop. He keeps a mostly fixed position and only moves his camera with her movement. The dances themselves are so spectacular that one interview subject talks about how Bala's dance had the legendary Martha Graham shuddering and weeping with astonishment. Ray's indelible portrait is such that we do not doubt this for a second.

Two (1964) Dir. Satyajit Ray 15mins. ****
Review By Greg Klymkiw

This simple, beautifully shot (in gorgeous black and white) fable of haves and have-nots is as delightfully entertaining as it is deeply and profoundly moving. Ray tells his tale with no dialogue whatsoever. A little rich boy on the second floor of his family's home plays alone with his huge collection of expensive toys. At one point, he looks outside the window and sees a poverty-stricken youth also playing by himself. The two lads make a connection, but soon the rich boy is demonstrating all his wonderful toys in a gloatingly uncharitable manner. The film turns into a rivalry between two children on the extreme opposites of social strata. Where it ends up, finally, is a heartbreaker. Such is the art of Maestro Satyajit Ray.

The Inner Eye: Four Shorts (THE INNER EYE, SIKKIM, BALA, TWO) By Satyajit Ray is presented at TIFF Bell Lightbox on Tuesday, July 15, 2014 at 8:45 p.m. as part of the TIFF Cinematheque series "The Sun and the Moon: The Films of Satyajit Ray". NOTE: Sikkim IS A RESTORED 35MM FILM PRINT & Two IS A RESTORED 16MM FILM PRINT. This might be your only chance to see this masterpiece the way it was meant to be seen, so get your tickets NOW and GO. Visit the TIFF website for further details by clicking HERE.


*BUYERS PLEASE NOTE* (Canadian Amazon) has a relatively cruddy collection of Satyajit Ray product and generally shitty prices. has a huge selection of materials (including music and books) and decent prices. Amazon.UK has a GREAT selection of Satyajit Ray movies from a very cool company called Artificial Eye (second these days only to the Criterion Collection). Any decent Chinatown sells region-free Blu-Ray and DVD players for peanuts. Just get one (or several - they can be that cheap) and don't be afraid of ordering from foreign regions. The fucking film companies should just merge the formats into one acceptable delivery method worldwide. Besides, you can order anything you want from any country anyway.