James Ivory

James Ivory

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James Ivory - 2016 Rendez-Vous With French Cinema - "Valley Of Love" Opening Night Screening - New York, New York, United States - Friday 4th March 2016

James Ivory
James Ivory

Maurice Review


Very Good
The second of three adaptations of E.M. Forster novels by James Ivory and Ismael Merchant, Maurice is one of Merchant-Ivory's strongest showings.

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

A Soldier's Daughter Never Cries Review


OK
...unless she's stuck in this bizarre girlie-coming-of-age in the sex-happy 1960s. Based on the life of writer James Jones and his daughter -- neither of whom I've ever heard of before or since this film.

Le Divorce Review


Good
Two American blondes discover the joys of Paris - love, heartache, and wearing scarves in a multitude of ways. The blondes are the Walker sisters of California, Roxy (Naomi Watts) and Isabel (Kate Hudson). As Le Divorce opens, Isabel has just arrived in Paris to stay with Roxy and help her out in the late stages of her pregnancy. As luck would have it, Isabel shows up just as Roxy's husband, Charles-Henri (Melvil Poupaud) is walking out on her and their young daughter. The highly moralistic Roxy refuses to give Charles-Henri a divorce, instigating a battle with his extensive, wealthy family, which is lorded over with queenly arrogance by his mother, Suzanne de Persand (Leslie Caron).

The conflict between the Walker and de Persand clans is meant to be only the backdrop for the film's marquee star, Kate Hudson, to strut her naïve self around Paris and fall in lust with Charles-Henri's uncle, the much-older Edgar (Thierry Lhermitte), a suave TV commentator. But it is this familial battleground that quickly becomes the more engaging storyline, especially after Roxy and Isabel's parents (Sam Waterston and Stockard Channing) fly in from California to help out in the negotiations. Waterston and Channing play their roles with effortless grace, establishing that they've been comfortably married for years by using only the slightest of gestures.

Continue reading: Le Divorce Review

Shakespeare Wallah Review


Good
The first sequence of Shakespeare Wallah shows British actors clowning around like idiots while knowing Indian servants wince, and it looks like the film will be a typically simple-minded parody of British "imperialism." This early Merchant-Ivory collaboration shares the same subject matter -- the end of the British Empire -- as many of their later films, but it develops into a more intimate and nuanced work than the team's subsequent high-profile period films, like The Remains of the Day.

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

The Courtesans Of Bombay Review


Good
Ismael Merchant's 1983 documentary takes a quick and almost casual look at one of Bombay's odd compounds: A residence/office/studio of sorts where women with entertainment industry aspirations spend their days practicing. Patrons will drop by to watch, paying what they feel appropriate. By night, as one of our local tour guides (a rent collector) tells us, things occur that we're better off not knowing about.

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

Maurice Review


Very Good
The second of three adaptations of E.M. Forster novels by James Ivory and Ismael Merchant, Maurice is one of Merchant-Ivory's strongest showings.

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

James Ivory

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Berlin House Where David Bowie And Iggy Pop Lived Marked By Plaque

Berlin House Where David Bowie And Iggy Pop Lived Marked By Plaque

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Rupert Grint To Star In TV Re-Make Of 'Snatch'

Grint will star alongside Dougray Scott and Ed Westwick in a 10-part TV series for Sony's streaming platform Crackle.

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James Ivory Movies

The White Countess Trailer

The White Countess Trailer

Shanghai, 1936 was a crossroads for political intrigue, refugees escaping turmoil, gathering military forces, international...

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Le Divorce Movie Review

Le Divorce Movie Review

Two American blondes discover the joys of Paris - love, heartache, and wearing scarves in...

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