The ersatz (but still immersive) India of Powell & Pressburgers Black Narcissus

  • The ersatz (but still immersive) India of Powell & Pressburger’s Black Narcissus

I got to attend Block’s presentation of The Home and the World last night, which screened from a 35-millimeter print recently struck by the Satyajit Ray Film and Study Center. The color photography looked extraordinary. Ray’s films are typically praised as great human dramas, but they also have a vivid, even sensual feel for texture. Compare the imposing alleyways of The Adversary with the inviting foliage of Days and Nights in the Forest with the opulent fantasy sequences of The Adventures of Goopy and Bagha, which resemble block prints come to life. In Home and the World, Ray imagined an early 20th-century estate as a little universe of fabrics, ornaments, and construction materials: it’s a film you’d like to run your fingers over. I wish I could see what pops out in the new print of Charulata that Block’s screening at 7:30 PM tonight, but I promised my folks I’d attend their Seder.