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Indian Cinema Beyond Bollywood – Day 4

Bird & Beckett
goes to the movies…

at the Balboa Theatre in San Francisco’s Richmond District…
we’ll see you there!

Indian Cinema Beyond Bollywood:
Classic & Contemporary Bengali Movies from Tollywood!

Friday, March 16th to Tuesday, March 20th

Before there was Bollywood, there was Tollywood–  Tollywood,  home of Bengali-language filmmaking, has long been the proving ground of many talents later usurped, exploited and made rich & famous by the Mumbai-based, Hindi-language Bollywood machine.  Its nickname came about in 1932, when a writer in American Cinematography magazine named it for the Tollygunge neighborhood of Kolkata (Calcutta) in which most of the Bengali-language movie production offices are based.

Last Day!  Tuesday
3 flicks for 5 bucks!

5:00 pm
Goopy Gyne Bagha Byne
(The adventures of Goopy & Bagha)

directed by Satyajit Ray, 1968

with Tapen Chatterjee
and Robi Ghosh

A delightful children’s fantasy filled with humour, adventure and magic, and at once a subtle yet powerful statement on the absurdities of war, done with high satire and sharp insight. Adapted from a short story by Ray’s grandfather, the story is about two young, simple-natured guys – Goopy and Bagha – who, upon getting banished from their respective villages for their atrocious musicianship, are awarded three magical boons by forest ghosts, including the ability to spellbind people (literally as well as figuratively) with their music.
— paraphrased from cliched-monologues.blogspot.com

7:00 pm
Aranyer Din Ratri
(Days and nights in the forest)

directed by Satyajit Ray, 1970

with Soumitra Chatterjee, Shubhendu Chatterjee, Samit Bhanja, Robi Ghosh, Sharmila Tagore, Kaberi Bose, Simi Garewal, Aparna Sen

From the  beginning, Ray contrives an extraordinary world, at once Arcadian and yet possessed of utter, unforced naturalness and reality.His language of cinema is a kind of miraculous vernacular, all his own. It has mystery, eroticism and delight. Critics have compared this film to Renoir and Chekhov. To those two masters I am inclined to add a third: Shakespeare. The phrase “must see” is bandied about very casually – but this deserves it. Run, don’t walk.
— Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian UK

9:00 pm
Calcutta 1971

directed by Mrinal Sen, 1972

with Madhabi Mukherjee, Gita Sen, Binota Roy, Ranjit Mullik

A young man, eternally 20, walks through history, through poverty, squalor and death. Eternally 20 and killed so many times — killed because he has been protesting and has remained an agent-provocateur. He comes and goes, between stories, each story having an independent set-up and new characters, but all stories harping on the eternal reality: Poverty and Degradation. While the physical look of poverty and hunger remains unchanged, it is the mind and attitude that keeps on changing. At the end, the young man of 20 appears on the screen again, just killed, and “incites” the spectators to react.


  ♦view the full schedule here
♦view graphics & more on the films here


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The Bird & Beckett Cultural Legacy Project

Our events are put on under the umbrella of the nonprofit Bird & Beckett Cultural Legacy Project (the "BBCLP"). That's how we fund our ambitious schedule of 300 or so concerts and literary events every year.

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