Only one Indian movie, Pather Panchali, figures in a list of the 100 greatest foreign-language films released by BBC Culture. Directed by Satyajit Ray, the 1995 classic is at the 15th position.
209 critics from 43 different countries, speaking a total of 41 languages took part in the BBC Culture poll.
The list ranks 100 films by 67 different directors covering 24 countries and 19 languages, according to the BBC. Of these, 27 films were in French, followed by 12 in Mandarin. There are 11 films each in Italian and Japanese.
The story of the movie Pather Panchali is set in a remote village of West Bengal. It revolves around a poor family of a priest Harihar.
— NFAI (@NFAIOfficial) August 3, 2016
As Harihar remains away from home on work frequently, his wife takes care of their daughter, Durga and elderly cousin, Indir. Later, the family is blessed with a son, Apu. After the death of Indir and Durga, the family shifts in Benaras (Varanasi). The film ends up showing Harihar and his family slowly moving way in an ox cart.
Satyajit Ray’s debut film, Pather Panchali is the first film of his ‘The Apu Trilogy‘, the other two being Aparajito and Apur Sansar. The trilogy deals with the growing up of Apu, Harihar’s son. The film displays the struggle for survival by a poor family without compromising on their dignity.
— Prasar Bharati (@prasarbharati) August 26, 2016
BBC Culture’s 100 Greatest Foreign Language Films
The winning film, Seven Samurai, by the Japanese director Akira Kurosawa, was loved by critics everywhere – everywhere, that is, except for Japan. The six Japanese critics who voted didn’t go for a single Kurosawa film between them.
Out of the 10 movies topping the list, there are nine features that have been the part of cinema for 50 years or more. Only Wong Kar-wai’s In The Mood For Love (2000) is the exception.
Only four movies in the list have been directed or co-directed by women. However, 45% of the critics polled in the list are female.
The list showcases only two films from the current decade- Asghar Farhadi’s A Separation and Michael Haneke’s Amour at 21st and 69th position, respectively.
BBC Culture Polls
BBC Culture ran its first major critics’ poll three years ago, to find the 100 greatest American films. Later, the polls looked for the best films of the 21st Century and the greatest comedies where US films topped the list.
This year, for the first time, the list has awarded the best cinema from around the world where the critics were asked to vote for movies made primarily in a language other than English.
(Note- All the photos are courtesy the Twitter handle – ‘Film Society of Lincoln Center’.)