The Big City

Thursday, August 6 at 7:30pm | Regular Admission Prices

Made after the smashing success of his acclaimed Apu Trilogy, The Big City marked the great Satyajit Ray’s first portrayal of contemporary life in his native Kolkata. Madhabi Mukherjee (also the star of Ray’s 1964 classic, Charulata) stars as Arati, a young middle-class housewife who, despite the initial protests of her bank-clerk husband, tries to help her family make ends meet by securing a job as a saleswoman in the big city of Kolkata.

“One of the most rewarding screen experiences of our time. The power of this extraordinary film seems to come in equal parts from the serene narrative style of director Satyajit Ray and the sensitive performances of the cast.” – Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times

Her conservative family disapproves of the notion of a female breadwinner, and the friction increases when a co-worker encourages Arati’s growing independence, leading to a series of triumphs and frustrations for our increasingly confident heroine, whose new attitude puts her at odds with her old life of subservience. With remarkable sensitivity and attention to the details of everyday working-class life, and aided by a stirring performance from Mukherjee that encompasses humor, dignity and fierce determination, Ray (winner of the Silver Bear for Best Direction at that year’s Berlin Film Festival) builds a powerful human drama that is at once a hopeful morality tale, a biting social satire and an ahead-of-its-time commentary on the identity of the modern Indian woman. (Dir. by Satyajit Ray, 1963, India, in Bengali with subtitles, 135 mins., Not Rated)