In 1964, renowned filmmaker Satyajit Ray was asked to create a short film for ‘ESSO World Theater’, a cultural showcase presented on television and funded by the American oil company Esso. Asked to write and direct the film in English, Ray opted instead to make a film without words. The result is a poignant fable of friendship and rivalry. As he did for many of his films, Ray composed the music for the film, including the haunting tune played on the flute.
After Satyajit Ray was awarded an Honorary Academy Award in 1992, the Academy embarked on an ambitious endeavor to preserve the works of the Bengali filmmaker. “Two,” also known as “Parable of Two,” is part of the Academy’s Satyajit Ray Collection which includes 18 feature films directed by Ray and preserved by the Archive.
Though Ray worked exclusively on 35mm, “Two” may have been filmed on 16mm, as it was created specifically for television. After an exhaustive search for elements relating to the film, three 16mm prints were found. From the 16mm print with the least wear and tear, courtesy of the Austrian Film Museum, a preservation negative was struck. “Two” was then digitally scanned and picture clean up and restoration were performed to eliminate scratches. The 16mm film’s poor audio was also restored. The film is now preserved and available to screen theatrically on 16mm or as a digital cinema package (DCP). Now, audiences everywhere can see this obscure gem, preserved by the Academy Film Archive, from master filmmaker Satyajit Ray.