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4 - 26 August 2023: The Music Room


The Music Room
Satyajit Ray, 1958, 100 min  

"An interest in the almost gothic character of ancient Indian ways among the aristocracy, and the unreal approach to cultural change (or decline), dominates several of Ray's films. The Music Room has been compared to a work by Chekhov, for it bears within it the same poignant melancholy toward passing tastes and lifestyles, coupled with an almost savage indictment of lofty self–indulgence. The decaying mansions of once–wealthy landowners can be seen all over India, emblems of colonial days, when Maharajahs and British potentates moved in an atmosphere of luxury and cultural isolation. In this film, Ray describes the gradual downfall of a proud, aging man who, to spite the assertive ambitions of a nouveau–riche businessman (and his neighbour), decides to present a lavish musical fete. The music symbolizes all that is deeply eternal in his life, and these sequences, in which classical Indian music is brilliantly performed, are a perfect amalgam of character–drama and social criticism." – Albert Johnson

Part of our Histoire(s) du cinéma series