Days and Nights in the Forest (1970)

Genres - Drama  |   Sub-Genres - Ensemble Film  |   Run Time - 115 min.  |   Countries - India   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Review by Tom Vick

Balancing lighthearted comedy with weightier social themes, Satyajit Ray's Days and Nights in the Forest is an allegorical treatment of one of the themes that began to preoccupy him in the 1970s. Ray feared that the then-current generation of young urban professionals in India were embracing the worst aspects of the Western world and becoming selfish and greedy. In Days and Nights, he sends four such feckless young men out into the country for a weekend escape. In their eye-opening encounters with members of the tribal people native to the forest, and with a family of rural aristocrats, they find that their sense of privilege and wallets full of cash are no substitutes for meaningful human interaction. Ray's sympathy for his characters prevents his four leads from becoming caricatures (Soumitra Chatterjee and Robi Ghosh in particular deliver subtle performances that give depth to characters that could have been one-dimensional). Visually, the film is gorgeous, with the cinematography of Soumendu Roy and art direction of Ashoke Bose giving the forest an almost enchanted feel. It also features Sharmila Tagore in one of her most beguiling roles.