Janus Films will release new 4K restorations of Satyajit Ray’s seminal The Apu Trilogy with new subtitles.

The company will re-release the trilogy in New York City at Film Forum on May 8 and in Los Angeles at Landmark’s Nuart Theater on May 29 prior to a summer-long rollout in the nation’s art-house theatres.

The Apu Trilogy is based on books by Bibhutibhusan Banerjee and follows a free-spirited child in rural Bengal who matures into an adolescent urban student and finally a sensitive man of the world. 

The films helped bring India into the golden age of international art-house cinema and prompted Akira Kurosawa to say, “Never having seen a Satyajit Ray film is like never having seen the sun or moon.”

Restoration work was deemed impossible after a fire damaged the original negatives in 1993.

The Academy Film Archive salvaged the remains and waited until technological advances allowed it to restore the films.

The Archive collaborated with The Criterion Collection and L’Immagine Ritrovata in Bologna and the British Film Institute.

Restoration work entailed nearly 1,000 hours of hand labour.

The trilogy comprises Pather Panchali (Song Of The Little Road), Aparajito (The Unvanquished) and Apur Sansar (The World Of Apu).