The Stranger (1991)
October 12, 2015 8:31 AM - Subscribe

In Satyajit Ray's final film, an enigmatic man who claims to be a long-lost uncle visits a family in Calcutta and regales them with stories of his travels around the world. Available to stream commercial free to Hulu subscribers here.

Part of the Criterion on Hulu film club.

Friday, October 16: Last week, the film world lost avant-garde feminist filmmaker Chantal Akerman. This Friday, we celebrate her life and work with a viewing of her masterpiece, Jeanne Dielman, 23 quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles. Both subscribers and non-subscribers can stream it here.

Monday, October 19: The Passion of Joan of Arc, the 1928 silent film based on the actual record of the trial of Joan of Arc. Directed by Carl Theodor Dreyer and featuring a breathtaking performance from Renée Jeanne Falconetti as Joan, it's widely regarded as a landmark of cinema. It can be watched here.
posted by Ian A.T. (3 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Hmmm... Well, this was an interesting blend of beautiful and corny. I also read it as a bit self-aggrandizing as the "Stranger" in question seemed to be a stand-in for Mr Ray looking backward at the end of his long, adventurous life.

I think when read as a parable, the stiffness of the acting and simplistic morality works well. I read a book of Satyajit Ray's stories, I think they must have been for his magazine, and as I recall they had a similar quality of having a clear moral lesson at the end of each one.

Maybe I sound down on this movie, but I really enjoyed it. Aesthetically it was really interesting and surprising stimulating considering how few sets were involved. Utpal Dutt was captivating. Those eyes!
posted by latkes at 9:49 AM on October 12, 2015

Also, the whole central conflict was a bit hard for me to understand. Why is everyone so wigged out by this guy? Like, what makes this a high-stakes conflict? This contributed to my feeling that it was more like a morality tale than any kind of realist drama.
posted by latkes at 9:51 AM on October 12, 2015

latkes, I was just reading IMDB reviews for this film, and one of the reviews (from 12 years ago!) seems to have your number:
The Stranger may be too charming for many of today's hipsters. A bit corny perhaps, but corn tastes great when it's cooked properly.
Take THAT, you hipster!

The review also ends with "Bravo, maestro!", which made me roll my eyes so hard I sprained a muscle.
posted by Ian A.T. at 1:55 PM on October 12, 2015 [1 favorite]

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