Probably this is because the story, which concerns an unsuccessful troupe of English Shakespearean actors in post-colonial India, is semi-autobiographical. Several of the actors, most of whom are somehow related (Felicity Kendal is the daughter of Geoffrey Kendal and Laura Liddell in life as well as on screen), were actually members of an English-Indian theatrical troupe who toured India in the 1960s. The film is most interesting as a tour of India when it was still in some ways a British country.
Continue reading: Shakespeare Wallah Review
Overnight the film changes completely: Gone is the narrator and the documentary feel. Now the film is in color, and the mud people are no longer savages. They have miraculously evolved into proper ladies and gentlemen, complete with tuxedos, dinner parties, dancing, and plenty of gossip. The absurdity continues, just in a different way. Title cards appear willy-nilly, in various foreign languages. Parlor room conversations contain the kind of pseudo-intellectual nonsense you'd expect, only these statements are nonsense -- the characters saying them are all primitives!
Continue reading: Savages Review
These are the titular "courtesans of Bombay," and we eventually come to learn a little (probably too little) about this peculiar industry in India's big cities. The most cutting moment is how one of the narrators notes that pregnant women in this area pray for a girl: A boy is useless, his only potential worth to the family would be in being a pimp to other girls. In the compound, one young girl is so valuable that she can work while the rest of the family just sleeps all day on the floor (as is seen frequently in the crude video footage).
Continue reading: The Courtesans Of Bombay Review
Remember the bad guys in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom? Those were the Thuggee, worshippers of Kali who happily assassinated and robbed their prey in the early 1800s. Here, a young British officer (Pierce Brosnan) uncovers Thuggees working in colonial India.
Continue reading: The Deceivers Review
Rhys -- reinvented here as Isabelle Adjani's wide-eyed Marya Zelli -- found her husband, an illegal art dealer, arrested and thrown into prison. Suddenly broke, she shacked up with a pair of Brits of questionable morality, eventually getting cut loose, whereupon she would become a professional writer.
Continue reading: Quartet Review
A painstakingly produced period piece, this Edwardian drama centers around the title character Maurice (pronounced "Morris") Hall (James Wilby), an Edwardian-era fancy lad who finds himself smitten with a schoolmate during his days at college in Cambridge (though this is of course notoriously against the law in England at the time). At first, he's smitten with Clive (Hugh Grant in his first major film role) but after seeing what happens to a friend of theirs (Mark Tandy) when he's busted for homosexuality and sentenced to hard labor in prison, they both attempt to mend their ways. Clive gets married, Maurice attempts hypnosis. This seems to "cure" Clive -- well enough, anyway -- but Maurice still can't shake it. Eventually he winds up shacking up with the much lower-class gamekeeper at the country estate.
Continue reading: Maurice Review
Slow, intricate, and deeply symbolic, Howards End ranks among the top films in their oeuvre. It's a history that, if you look at it closely, really amounts to three greats (End, Room, and The Remains of the Day) and a whole lot of nothing-much-else. But that's a subject for another day.
Continue reading: Howards End Review
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