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

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: Meg has been writing professionally about all things film-related since 2016. She is a Senior Contributor at Film School Rejects as well as a Curator for One Perfect Shot. She has attended international film festivals such as TIFF, Hot Docs, and the Nitrate Picture Show as a member of the press. In her day job as an archivist and records manager, she regularly works with physical media and is committed to ensuring ongoing physical media accessibility in the digital age. You can find more of Meg's work at Cinema Scope, Dead Central, and Nonfics. She has also appeared on a number of film-related podcasts, including All the President's Minutes, Zodiac: Chronicle, Cannes I Kick It?, and Junk Filter. Her work has been shared on NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour, Business Insider, and CherryPicks. Meg has a B.A. from the University of King's College and a Master of Information degree from the University of Toronto.