Thursday, January 15, 2015

338. Jalsaghar/The Music Room (1958)

Running Time: 91 minutes
Directed By: Satyajit Ray
Written By: Satyajit Ray, from novel by Tarashankar Banerjee
Main Cast: Chhabi Biswas, Padma Devi, Pinaki Sen Gupta, Gangapada Bose, Tulsi Lahari


I broke my cell phone today which was a major bummer.  I took it out of my pocket, just to give a quick check of the time and BAM - right through my fingers and to the ground. Despite a protective case, when I picked it up, it was a black screen. Also, despite paying for insurance every month, which I just assumed would cover me if anything happened to the phone (I think I was thinking more along the lines of a warranty and it's actually just insurance), turns out I had to pay $100 just to get a replacement. Oh well...such is life. New phone is overnight shipping and should be here tomorrow. In the meantime, let's bash some Indian movies...

I'm not going to lie, it was a struggle for me to get through this. I kept referencing the Apu trilogy in my head and telling myself, "you will not like this". Shame on me for ruining my experience with this movie from the get go. But, honestly, it was all true. I was never going to like this movie and there's just something about Indian cinema, particularly that of Satyajit Ray, that I have a hard time sitting through. The film is about a man named Roy, a landlord, who in his glory would hold gatherings in his music room, complete with invited guests and live entertainment. When we join him, Roy now spends his days smoking his pipe and doing a lot of nothing, a shell of former self, now all alone and coveting others. When a neighbor, Ganguly, calls upon Roy and tells him of a party HE plans to throw, Roy announces that he was also planning a party for the same day. Ganguly revokes his plans, citing that Roy is a higher class (or once was) and Roy sells everything valuable that his family owns (including his jewels), in an effort to earn the money and put on his party, one upping Ganguly in the process. You see, these gatherings, parties or whatever you want to call them were kind of a big deal to Roy, so when he realizes he can't throw them without bankrupting himself, it shows him that he's past his prime. His wife and child are also killed over the course of the film, leaving a pretty broken down and depressed man by film's end.

Despite watching nearly 900 films from THE BOOK, broadening my tastes to the max, I still just can't settle into some movies. There's still a part of me that wants my movies in the English language and released in the years since my birth. I hate it, I really do, but there IS a little part of me that wants my movies to meet these criteria. I love foreign films, I do, but there's a small part of me that says "movies from my country won't provide as much of a challenge, there won't be a culture clash, you'll understand everything better". I also really love a lot of old movies, yet there's a part of me that says just about the same thing - "you'd understand a more modern movie better, it would be more relateable". Shame on me, I know. I'm only reminded of these facts about my tastes when I watch something like The Music Room and while I understand the plot, the film still misses on all cylinders. I tell you, I could not have been less interested in this movie. I just had no desire to watch it and ONLY watched it because it stood in my way to finishing the 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die book. I don't know what it was, but the film just put me off in every way. And it's not even the movies fault, probably, it's me. Yes, I'm giving this movie the it's not you it's me routine...THAT'S MY ROUTINE! (Seinfeld reference).

Anyway, Ray just doesn't do it for me apparently and that's that. I hate the fact that I was forced to admit that I only watched this to get through THE BOOK, as I want every film to impact me, for me to really try with every film, but I couldn't be bothered to fight for this one, to try and like it any more than I did, which wasn't much. Also, I think the fact that the DVD copy that I had (from Netflix, mind you) was probably the most amateur looking DVD I've ever encountered. Subtitles that lingered until a new subtitle was needed. Meaning, let's say someone said something and then no one else spoke dialogue for ten minutes - then that last line would remain on the screen until someone else finally spoke: ANNOYING! Also the fact that the company that made the DVD had their logo plastered in the upper right hand corner and the overall quality was just rubbish, made this one a hard one to get into anyway. Even though it was from the 50s, it looked like something from the 30s, very poor, very dated.

RATING: 2/10  I'll give the '2' because the plot wasn't that bad and actually made sense. Again, I take all the credit for hating this one - totally my fault, guys.


January 15, 2015  5:42pm


  1. We pretty much agreed on the Apu trilogy, if I remember correctly..
    Very artistic, but a tad slow, and painfully predictable.
    But this one (and, (I hope I've got this right, The Chess players), I thought offered a great deal more and I really liked them.

    1. Yes, we did agree on the Apu trilogy, but like you said with Enter the Dragon, this one just didn't push my buttons. I take the blame here though.


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