Maurice (1987)

Maurice
Director: James Ivory
Writer: Kit Hesketh-Harvey, James Ivory
Based on: E. M. Forster‘s novel
Cast: James Wilby, Hugh Grant, Rupert Graves, Denholm Elliott, Simon Callow, Billie Whitelaw, Barry Foster, Judy Parfitt, Phoebe Nicholls, Patrick Godfrey, Mark Tandy, Ben Kingsley, Kitty Aldridge, Helena Michell, Catherine Rabett
Seen on: 22.4.2022

Content Note: (critical treatment of) homomisia, classism

Plot:
Maurice (James Wilby) meets Clive (Hugh Grant) at Cambridge University where they connect over philosophy and music. Their friendship quickly deepens and when Clive confesses his love for Maurice, Maurice is thrown at first but finally able to admit his love for Clive as well. Only that Clive wants to keep sex out of their relationship, especially since homosexuality is still forbidden in the UK. Trapped between (internalized) denial and a longing for happiness, Maurice and Clive have to make some important decisions.

Maurice is a beautifully crafted film that – given the time it is set in – I thought would be much sadder. Instead it is a powerful and very romantic call to live your truth.

The film poster showing Maurice (James Wilby) leaning over Clive (Hugh Grant) who is turning his face away.
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Ničija zemlja [No Man’s Land] (2001)

Ničija zemlja
Director: Danis Tanovic
Writer: Danis Tanovic
Cast: Branko Djuric, Rene Bitorajac, Filip Sovagovic, Georges Siatidis, Serge-Henri Valcke, Sacha Kremer, Alain Eloy, Simon Callow
Seen on: 9.2.2018
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Plot:
At the height of the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Ciki (Branko Djuric), a Bosnian Muslim, and Nino (Rene Bitorajac), a Bosnian Serb get trapped in No Man’s Land. Despite being caught in the same boat, the two can’t help but fight with each other while they wait for a possibility to get back to their respective troops. Things are made even more complicated when they discover that they are in very real danger of being blown up.

No Man’s Land is a bitter and angry film, but its also so funny that the darkness almost disappears – only to come through at important moments to hit you even harder. The film is a little rough at times, but that just makes it stronger.

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Victoria & Abdul (2017)

Victoria & Abdul
Director: Stephen Frears
Writer: Lee Hall
Based on: Shrabani Basu’s book
Cast: Judi DenchAli FazalTim Pigott-SmithEddie IzzardAdeel AkhtarMichael GambonPaul HigginsOlivia WilliamsFenella WoolgarJulian WadhamRobin SoansRuth McCabeSimon Callow
Seen on: 14.10.2017
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Plot:
As Queen Victoria (Judi Dench) celebrates the 50th year of her reign, two Muslim Indians are chosen to present her with a commemorative coin. One of them is Abdul Karim (Ali Fazal). Abdul is excited at the chance to visit England and see the Queen, and in his excitement he forgets the most important rule and makes eye-contact with her. Instead of catastrophe, this leads to Victoria striking up a friendship with Abdul who teaches her about India and much more.

Victoria & Abdul left me deeply uncomfortable and its blatant ignorance of colonialism and the power structures involved – despite the topic at hand. That overshadowed everything else for me.

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Viceroy’s House (2017)

Viceroy’s House
Director: Gurinder Chadha
Writer: Paul Mayeda BergesMoira Buffini, Gurinder Chadha
Cast: Hugh BonnevilleGillian AndersonManish DayalHuma QureshiMichael GambonOm PuriDavid HaymanSimon CallowDenzil SmithNeeraj KabiTanveer GhaniLily Travers
Seen on: 30.8.2017
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Plot:
Lord Louis Mountbatten (Hugh Bonneville) and his wife Edwina (Gillian Anderson) arrive in India as Mountbatten is tasked with overseeing the transition from India to independence from British colonialism. It’s a job where Mountbatten has a very slim chance to come out on top, as religious and political tensions in India are high. A fact that is also very apparent to Jeet (Manish Dayal), a Hindu who just started working at the Viceroy’s palace. There he finds Aalia (Huma Qureshi) again, a young Muslim woman who he used to be in love with. And while Aalia seems to like Jeet as well, things really aren’t easy.

There were a couple of things I struggled with during the film, but it was an engaging film, albeit one that doesn’t quite manage to be the film it could have been.

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