The modern stage of the development of technologies and means of communication gives rise to a number of opportunities to obtain the new information and explore the new and unique culture. Any modern individual has the limitless access towards any data he/she needs. This fact promotes the interpenetration of various cultures and the initiation of values interchange. Additionally, the further development of globalization contributes to the discovery of unique traditions and customs of people all over the world. Yet, there are many other sources that help to obtain the clear and credible image of the lifestyle of a certain folk or community, and the cinema could be taken as one of them.
Nevertheless, the relations between different cultures have always been an ongoing issue for society. Curiosity is one of the integral treats of human character that determines the desire to investigate the unusual things. For this reason, people tend to explore the lifestyle of the communities which reside in other regions. Therefore, this desire conditions the initiation of the cultural interpenetration and encourages the enrichment of these very cultures.
However, numerous differences between the mentalities of people impact the attitude to some traditional things and result in the creation of the unique lifestyle. Furthermore, these different approaches precondition the appearance of the difficulties in understanding because of the lack of certain phenomena in one or other culture. The gap could perfectly be seen if to compare the Western and Eastern cultures. These cross-cultural relations are complicated by the significant differences in mentalities and lifestyles.
Besides, there are various sources that are focused on the creation of the authentic image of a state, culture, and mentality. They also aim at the improvement of the mutual understanding between peoples and promotion of the a certain way of living. The evolution of technologies and blistering growth of the popularity of cinema contributed to its becoming one of the most significant modern data sources. The Hollywood and European movies promoted the western lifestyle all over the world, and there is hardly a person who does not have at least the vague idea about it. However, there are also films that present the unique and unexplored Eastern culture and Pather Panchali is among them.
Directed by Satyajit Ray, the movie became a great event in the cultural life of the Western society as it demystified the Indian culture and presented viewers with the peculiarities of the life of a common family in the rural Indian environment.
The given region has always been of great interest for Europeans because of its mysterious character and unique history. However, the absence of the credible information related to the real image of the state and a number of myths connected with India gave rise to numerous delusions and misbelieves. In these regards, the movie Pather Panchalli could be considered as the revolutionary one as it introduced the clear image of Indian lifestyle.
The scene of the movie is laid in the rural area of India. From the very first scenes, a viewer notices the village situated somewhere in jungles. These initial shots contribute to the creation of the needed atmosphere and introduce the contrast between the safe and accurate western countryside and the Indian one. The child interacts with nature, being a part of it. The director highlights the cooperation between the community and environment and makes it one of the main motifs of the whole film. People living in the village might suffer from various the phenomena of nature, being the unified whole with the land. This aspect could surprise the western audience as their lifestyle if based on the secure and comfort dwelling that could protect them from any threat.
Furthermore, the film also demonstrates a number of other unique aspects of culture that might be considered unusual by a common western viewer. Harihars family belongs to the common Indian community and could be taken as the indicator of the way of life of this social class. Another fact that demonstrates the difference in mentalities is that all people are barefooted. They do not have shoes and move not feeling pain. It is the part of the Indian culture conditioned by the milder climate and peculiarities of the historical development. However, it still could impress a bearer of the western mentality who is not able to walk without shoes.
Besides, shoes might also cost a lot and money is one of the major concerns of the film determining the plot and serving as the source of drama. Harihar is not able to earn enough to keep a family and has to move. Moreover, Durga dies because of the lack of medical care. These facts evidence the extreme poverty of the country and provide the ground for the vigorous debates. The representative of the western culture could hardly imagine the situation in which the lack of the medical services might result in the death of a child. Yet, Satyajit Ray emphasizes this situation, making it one of the crucial events of the plot for a viewer to recognize the tragedy and understand its roots.
Extreme poverty is also evidenced by the simple household, food, clothes, the absence of any conveniences, etc. One could assume that the director opposes the Eastern world to the Western one, highlighting the main distinctive features and trying to achieve the greatest effect.
Altogether, the film had a great impact on the cross-cultural cooperation and interchange. It managed to provide the western viewers with the new and credible information describing the life of common people in India. It is obvious that the customers and traditions are absolutely different from the image Europeans had in their mind. That is why the movie is so much appreciated. Ray demonstrates the real life, attractions, and feelings, trying to impress people with the unusual lifestyle and dramatic history of one family. Nevertheless, the movie also proves the existence of the unique phenomena that could hardly be understood by the other folks in every culture.
To summarize, Pather Panchali belongs to the category of movies that change the understanding of a certain issue and initiate vigorous discussions. The film presents the authentic Indian lifestyle which seems unusual and sometimes even shocking for a western viewer. The gap between cultures and the absence of the credible sources describing the mentality of people living in this area resulted in the growth of a number of stereotypes related to the issue. However, Satyajit Ray tends to destroy the biased attitude and promote the Indian culture with all its positive and negative sides. In these regards, the movie plays an important role in the process of cross-cultural circulation.