Distant Thunder

One of Ray's most compassionate films, Distant Thunder tackles one of his country's-and the twentieth century's-greatest man-made disasters: the 1942 Bengal famine, which, due to corruption and profiteering, left over five million people dead. While the rest of the world is embroiled in WWII, ordinary Bengali farmers go about their lives, but soon the price of rice begins to rise, and with it fear, hoarding, and finally chaos. The schoolteacher/priest/doctor Ganga (Soumitra Chatterjee, Apu himself) and his wife are unaffected at first, preferring not to step beyond (or below) their caste boundaries, but eventually they cannot ignore the sorrows around them. Shot in brilliant color, Distant Thunder juxtaposes the pettiness and rampant darkness of the social order with the gold and green of the natural world around it; here, Ray is at his most surgical, yet also his most open-hearted.-

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