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Set in 1928, this film portrays an indelibly sardonic picture of British life in territorial India.The story concerns Adela Quested, who is a free-spirited British woman, played by (Judy Davis), whohas settled in India and is to marry Ronny Heaslop (Nigel Havers), a town magistrate. She is befriended by the charming Dr. Aziz (Victor Banerjee), but it's a friendship that ultimately leads to tragedy.
This is a magnificent and exquisitely wrought film, well nuanced and faithful in its adaptation of E.M. Forster's classic novel of the same name. Director David Lean, who had previously directed such cinematic triumphs as "Bridge on the River Kwai" and "Lawrence of Arabia", outdid himself with this film, which was nominated for eleven Academy Awards and for which Peggy Ashcroft won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, as did Maurice Jarre for Best Score. Set in 1928 colonial India, it is a story about racism and love. A headstrong and adventurous Englishwoman, Adela Quested (Judy Davis) travels to India to meet her fiance. She is accompanied on her journey by her fiance's elderly mother, Mrs. Moore (Peggy Ashcroft), a lovely and kindly woman who, upon reaching India, is appalled at the treatment of the native Indian populace by her own countrymen. She eventually makes the acquaintance of a very nice Indian man, Dr. Aziz (Victor Banerjee), who is surprised at being treated as a sentient human being by this Englishwoman. During a social ocassion, in which the usual class boundaries were set aside, he again meets the delightful Mrs. Moore and is introduced to Adela Quested. Enthused by being treated as an equal, he gets carried away and invites them to be his guests on an excursion he can ill afford to a well known, but remote tourist spot, the Marabar caves. It is a hot day and a long journey to these mysterious caves, and Dr. Aziz and Ms. Quested are thrown together more than they ordinarily would have been, setting the stage for a fateful and strange turn of events, one that would have great personal, as well as political, impact on the parties concerned.Read more ›
When David Lean's "A Passage to India" opened in 1984, some saw it as a showdown between the glory days of literate epic filmmaking and the "feel-good" ethos of the Lucas/Spielberg popcorn juggernauts. Who better than the director of "Lawrence of Arabia," "Doctor Zhivago" and "Bridge on the River Kwai" to show the film school grads how to make a movie? As always, anything burdened by such mythic expectations is bound to fail ("Phantom Menace" anyone?) Sadly, I joined the chorus of detractors lamenting "Passage" as a poor shadow of the "Leanscapes" that catapulted "Lawrence" and "Zhivago" into film history. Amazing how age softens perspective. A fresh viewing of "Passage," courtesy of Columbia TriStar Home Video's new DVD, reveals an eloquent adaptation of E.M. Forster's complex novel about British colonialism in 1928 India and the cultural and sensual abysses that separate men and women, English and Indian, sensualist and ascetic.
"Passage" tells the story of Adela Quested (Judy Davis) en route to India to visit her fiancé, Ronny Heslop (Nigel Havers). Traveling with Heslop's mother, Mrs. Moore (Peggy Ashcroft, in an Oscar-winning performance), Adela arrives in the city of Chandrapore to find an alien environment, yet evocative in a way she cannot fathom. Mrs. Moore is similarly captivated by India, but is less than admiring of the treatment of the Indians by their colonial masters, i.e. her peers. One night, Mrs. Moore visits an abandoned mosque. There, she encounters local physician Dr. Aziz (Victor Banerjee). At first he charges her with blasphemy, entering a holy place improperly.Read more ›
Very interesting examination of English and Indian attitudes about themselves and each other in 1920's India. The English that reside in India may start off as decent folk with the feeling that they are in the business of improving India and some are. Most however merely see the India venture as an employment opportunity and once there merely carry on being English and force their English ways and rules on Indians whom they demean in the process. Lean presents the stereotypical English administrators and their wives as a rather unappealing bunch of snobs who only become more prejudice the longer they stay on. India is seen by them to be a muddle in need of their administrative and civilizing skills. The Indians of course see things quite differently. British snobbery and decorum prevents any social mixing with the Indians they rule so its no surprise they don't understand the people whose country they are in. Judy Davis and her fiances mother arrive in India and find the stringent social norms to be revolting. They immediately want to meet Indians and learn about the place they are in from the Indians whom they treat like polite hosts. When they do begin socializing with the Indians however trouble follows. The incident in the Marabar caves is brought on by the uneasy combination of English repression and Indian sensuality which is everywhere on display in the temples and statuary. The "incident" is the central mystery to the movie and I won't spoil it for you but during the trial that follows the true nature of the relationship between the ruling English and the subject race is made painstakingly clear to all. Excellent and competent and compressed presentation of the Forster novel which also relies on a stage version of the book.Read more ›