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Devi/ the Goddess (1960)


Sukhov
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A very good film from Satyajit Ray with a bit of an agnostic or atheist message but also one of pride vs. humility. Of course, the father is very much to blame for not handling a bizarre dream in a proper manner but if Doyamoyee had not gotten caught up in the pride and power she did not deserve then things would not have turned out so badly for her. The poor son is the real hero of the film and becomes a stranger in his own home. I very much appreciated this film but the audio of the copy TCM played really could use a touch up. 

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I found I could not deal with the audio. I probably should have just suffered through it, because I like his movies a lot, but was not in the mood. Actually, I was not all that impressed with the visual quality either.

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Yes the print was atrocious, and at times was a hard struggle to stay with.  No doubt it muted a lot of the power and poetry of the movie.

Its a fine illustration of the dangers of religious fanaticism.  And the necessity of strong rational opposition to it.  I have a slightly different take on some of the characters.  While the grandfather is rightly blameworthy in his infatuation with his goddess, and his expectation that he be rewarded by her for his years of devotion, Doyamoyee is more of an naive victim who pays a terrible price in the loss of her sanity.  Though her husband Umaprasad sees what's wrong, his weakness permits the tragedy to unfold.

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Sorry to hear that the print was so poor, because Devi is certainly a film worth seeing. I have read that some of Ray's films have not been well preserved, which is shocking given his status as India's best-known director.

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Just now, kingrat said:

Sorry to hear that the print was so poor, because Devi is certainly a film worth seeing. I have read that some of Ray's films have not been well preserved, which is shocking given his status as India's best-known director.

The Apu trilogy looked awful for decades until a major restoration several years ago. I've noticed more and more of his films being released by Criterion or made available on the Criterion Channel streaming service, and those have all been cleaned up, and look and sound great.

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47 minutes ago, kingrat said:

Sorry to hear that the print was so poor, because Devi is certainly a film worth seeing. I have read that some of Ray's films have not been well preserved, which is shocking given his status as India's best-known director.

The visual and audio quality was so poor it looked like a film from the 1930s or 40s rather than from 1960. In one scene, the woman is afraid to go into the woods and the ringing and crackling of the audio is so loud that I thought it was supposed to be dogs barking at first before realizing it was just the decrepit audio condition. 

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I attended a screening of a "restored" print of Ray's The Music Room and the person in charge of restorations for the American Academy which oversaw it was there.  I learned a lot.  Some time ago all of the negatives for Ray's films were shipped to a laboratory in London with the view of starting restoration work on them all.  Unfortunately the laboratory burned to the ground and all of the negatives to all of Ray's films were lost forever.  The Academy then began an even more laborious process of tracking down the best film prints available to do the best they could.  All that said, I am not sure what copy of Devi TCM aired the other night.  I had a problem with my recorder and wasn't able to capture it.  I saw the film many years ago in the cinema.

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I also saw Devi years ago, either in a college film series or in a "Janus Film Festival" where Janus Films presented many of the standard foreign film classics. I believe that Days and Nights in the Forest may be another Ray film which exists only in poor prints. The VHS print I looked at was unwatchable, either from hard use (it had belonged to a college library) or from poor audio and video in the existing print.

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