Features and Columns · Movies

An Intro to Satyajit Ray: The Master Who Changed World Cinema

From how to work with children to the importance of creative control, here’s a look at how Satyajit Ray directs.
Pather Panchali
By  · Published on September 28th, 2022

Welcome to The Queue — your daily distraction of curated video content sourced from across the web. Today, we’re watching a video essay that looks at how the master Satyajit Ray directs a film.


In no uncertain terms, Satyajit Ray is one of the most important filmmakers of all time. He is an icon in both Bengali communities and worldwide, where he is celebrated by filmmakers whose names are more well-known to Westerners: Martin Scorsese, John Huston, Wes Anderson … the list goes on. Ray’s influence is absolutely everywhere.

Whether you have never heard of Ray’s work before or you’re a longtime appreciator, the video essay below provides marvelous insight into how the master approached directing. With intercut interviews of Ray describing his own approach to directing interspersed with archival footage and film clips, the video essay details some of the principles that made Ray the artist he is.

From Ray’s approach to working with non-actors and children to the importance of maintaining creative control (which for Ray meant doing everything himself), the video essay lays out some of the core muscles of Satyajit Ray’s movie-making process.

p.s. if you’re wondering where you can watch Satyajit Ray’s work, the heroes over at the Criterion Channel have assembled films and interviews celebrating the director’s oeuvre, from his breakthrough debut Pather Panchali (1955) to his final feature film, The Stranger (1991).

Watch “How Satyajit Ray Directs a Film | The Director’s Chair”:


Who made this?

This video essay on the directing style of Satyajit Ray was created by StudioBinder. This production management software creator also happens to produce wildly informative video essays. They tend to focus on the mechanics of filmmaking itself, from staging to pitches and directorial techniques. You can check out their YouTube account here.

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Meg Shields is the humble farm boy of your dreams and a senior contributor at Film School Rejects. She currently runs three columns at FSR: The Queue, How'd They Do That?, and Horrorscope. She is also a curator for One Perfect Shot and a freelance writer for hire. Meg can be found screaming about John Boorman's 'Excalibur' on Twitter here: @TheWorstNun. (She/Her).