“Mr Ivory and Ismail Merchant breathe life into their material... in a manner that is as decorous as it is dramatic”
We're delighted to present the Melbourne premieres of five new digital restorations of the Merchant Ivory Collection.
Producer Ismail Merchant and director/screenwriter James Ivory produced over forty impeccably staged and exquisitely literate features under the banner of Merchant Ivory Productions. Merchant, Ivory's producing and life partner for over four decades, died in 2005, but in recent years James Ivory has collaborated on the restoration and re-release of selected titles from their sumptuous back catalogue of socially incisive dramas.
The acclaimed adaptations of E.M. Forster novels, Maurice and Howards End, are visually evocative, award-winning films which examine the dehumanizing impact of rigidly enforced class lines and social prohibitions in early 20th Century England.
Shakespeare Wallah, Heat and Dust and Autobiography of a Princess (all written by frequent collaborator Ruth Prawer-Jhabvala) explore the enduring impact of Indian culture on British characters far from home during the British Raj and in the decades post-Independence.
Luca Guadagnino’s Call Me By Your Name, for which James Ivory recently received the Academy Award and BAFTA for Best Adapted Screenplay, screens as a complement to Maurice, an unfairly neglected Merchant Ivory classic directed and co-written by Ivory. The two films stand as rich exemplars of queer cinema. Maurice appeared too early to ride the New Queer Cinema wave of the early 90s and is due a critical reappraisal; Call Me By Your Name achieves a pinnacle of maturity in the representation of liberated queer identity that the embattled characters played by Hugh Grant and James Wilby in Maurice could hardly have dared imagine.