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Pather Panchali (1955)

Director Satyajit Ray
Cast Karuna Banerjee, Kanu Banerjee, Uma Dasgupta, Subir Banerjee
Plot Based on Bibhutibhushan Bandopadhyay's novel about a poor family struggling to survive, the film looks at tragedy through the eyes of young Apu.

The film was funded by the West Bengal Roads and Buildings Department in the hope that The Song of the Road would be a promotional documentary for the roads of the state!

Time magazine described the film as the finest piece of filmed folklore since the 'father of documentary' Robert Flaherty's Nanook of the North.

When Ray ran into financial trouble during the making, and was even contemplating giving up the project, it was singer-actor-director Kishore Kumar who helped him out with Rs 5,000, getting Pather Panchali back on the road.

After watching the film, celebrated exponent of French New Wave Cinema, Francois Truffaut said: 'I don't want to see a movie of peasants eating with their hands.'

The one film which moved Ray the most before he started scripting Pather Panchali was Italian Neorealist film-maker Vittorio De Sica's Bicycle Thief, which he reportedly saw 55 times.

In its 1992 poll of the 10 Greatest Films of All Time, the British Film Institute's Sight And Sound magazine rated Pather Panchali at number six in the list alongside the likes of Citizen Kane and The Godfather.

Monster (2003)

Director Patty Jenkins
Cast Charlize Theron, Christina Ricci
Plot The film is based on the true life story of Aileen Carol Wuornos, a highway prostitute who was executed for killing seven men in the state of Florida during the 1980s. Theron plays Wuornos while Ricci her lover Selby.

In pre-production, director Jenkins and Wuornos were writing to each other for around eight months. The night before her execution, Wuornos had her best friend open up the archive of every letter they wrote to each other in 12 years for the film.

To look like Wuornos, Charlize gained 30 pounds, sported false teeth and age spots, and also used a special gel to get those droopy eyes.

Charlize won the Best Actress Oscar for her Monster role on 29 February, which happened to be Wuornos's birthday.

The credits list the Chemical Brothers track in the film as Come with us but in actuality it is Where do I begin, with Beth Orton singing it.

Charlize's power-packed performance in The Devil's Advocate of a woman driven mad made Jenkins cast her in the role of Wuornos in Monster.

For the role of Selby, Brittany Murphy and Kate Beckinsale were considered before it went to Ricci.

Apart from Jenkins's film, two other films, both documentaries, were made on Wuornos by Nick Broomfield. The 1992 film was called Aileen Wuornos: The Selling of a Serial Killer, while the second part in 2003 was titled Wuornos, Aileen: The Life and Death of a Serial Killer.

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