A Passage to India (1984)

A Passage to India
Director: David Lean
Writer: David Lean
Based on: E. M. Forster‘s novel and Santha Rama Rau‘s play based on the novel
Cast: Judy Davis, Victor Banerjee, Peggy Ashcroft, James Fox, Alec Guinness, Nigel Havers, Richard Wilson, Antonia Pemberton, Michael Culver
Seen on: 30.6.2020

Content Note: (critical treatment of) racism, brownfacing

Adela (Judy Davis) travels to India with her friend Mrs Moore (Peggy Ashcroft). The two women want to visit Mrs Moore’s son Ronny (Nigel Havers) who works as a city magistrate there. In the course of their trip, the two women hope to see the “real India”, and Adela hopes that she can finally decide whether she wants to marry Ronny or not. Once they arrive, they realize how segregated the British colonists are from the Indian people, but they do manage to meet local doctor Aziz (Victor Banerjee) through the teacher Fielding (James Fox). Aziz offers to take the two women to the Marabar caves, which they readily accept. But the trip has dire consequences – above all for Aziz.

A Passage to India is a good film that hasn’t aged well in all regards. But I’d say, it’s still worth seeing.

The film poster showing a group of people moving through the desert.


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Lawrence of Arabia (1962)

Lawrence of Arabia
Director: David Lean
Writer: Robert Bolt, Michael Wilson
Based on: T. E. Lawrence‘ writing and life
Cast: Peter O’Toole, Omar Sharif, Anthony Quinn, Alec Guinness, Jack Hawkins, José Ferrer, Anthony Quayle, Claude Rains
Seen on: 10.4.2016
[I saw the 227 min, 70mm roadshow version.]

During World War I, T. E. Lawrence (Peter O’Toole) is stationed in Egypt. He is knowledgeable but doesn’t fit in easily with the army. To the Arab Bureau’s Mr Dryden (Claude Rains) that makes him the ideal candidate to meet with Prince Faisal (Alec Guinness) and generally assess the power distribution and the development within the Bedouin communities. Lawrence sets off and finds himself drawn into their world more and more.

Lawrence of Arabia is one of those classics everybody keeps raving about and that I had never seen (there are quite a few of those, unfortunately). So when it was announced that they’d show it in a local cinema, I knew I had to go. And I can say that it was a good choice to see it on the big screen. It’s a stunning film, although not unproblematic, especially not from today’s point of view.

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