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The Brilliance of Satyajit Ray

Sunday, April 6, 2014
3:00 p.m. The Adventures of Goopy and Bagha
Satyajit Ray (India, 1968)

Restored Print!
Recommended for Ages 8 & Up


(Goopy Gyne Bagha Byne). Into his much-loved screen adaptation of a fairy tale written by his grandfather, Satyajit Ray weaves elements of folklore, classical and popular music, dance, and drama. “Some people have classified it as a film for children,” writes Marie Seton, Ray’s biographer. “If so, then it is also for the grown-up in the sense that ‘Alice in Wonderland’ has its adult levels. Others have seen a Brechtian quality in Goopy. However interpreted, Goopy satirizes power and the absurdity of war.” The tale is of two village boys, one who doesn’t sing, the other who doesn’t play drums, and both of whom have been expelled from the village for trying. They meet in the forest, where their playing attracts the King of the Ghosts and his entourage, who perform what Albert Johnson describes as “a Bengali ‘rockout’ that is immediately among the greatest sequences in the history of Indian cinema.” Granted three wishes by the Ghost King, Goopy and Bagha are equipped with magic slippers, musical ability, and the promise of food and clothing for a lifetime. They set out on a host of uproarious adventures, through which they meet twin kings of warring realms, and in the end are beautifully rewarded for their work for peace.

—Judy Bloch

• Written by Ray, based on a story by Upendra Kishore Ray. Photographed by Soumendu Roy. With Tapan Chatterjee, Robi Ghosh, Santosh Dutta, Harindranath Chattopadhyay. (132 mins, In Bengali with English subtitles, Color/B&W, 35mm, Restored by the Satyajit Ray Preservation Project at the Academy Film Archive, From the Academy Film Archive, permission Prunima Dutta)