Afterimage: James Ivory, Three Films from Novels
March 3, 2012 - April 7, 2012
If the phrase “Merchant Ivory Productions” is among the opening credits of a film, you are guaranteed that an intelligent, beautifully visualized film will follow. Director James Ivory, who was born in Berkeley and lived in India, had a long and fruitful collaboration with producer Ismail Merchant, who was born in India and studied in America. Perhaps this cross-cultural exchange led them to one of their central themes, that of the expatriate, which often intertwines with another focus, the family. Throughout their fifty-year collaboration, Merchant (who died in 2005) and Ivory were best known for their adaptations of literature, including luscious visual renditions of Henry James’s The Europeans and E. M. Forster’s Howard’s End. Our tribute to James Ivory focuses on their adaptations of contemporary American novels, Mr.& Mrs. Bridge, Le Divorce, and A Soldier’s Daughter Never Cries. Ivory’s “body of work really is literary, and not just because he has tackled such a remarkably diverse group of book adaptations. His films are literate in their own right, united by a style that overrides the source material” (Janet Maslin).
As part of our ongoing series Afterimage: Filmmakers and Critics in Conversation, we are delighted that James Ivory will join us in conversation with renowned essayist Phillip Lopate to discuss the art of adapting novels into films following the screening on Saturday, April 7. Lopate will also introduce a special screening of Chekhov for Children, a documentary that looks at the lasting impact of his projects with elementary-school children. Lopate’s books include Art of the Personal Essay, Notes on Sontag, and Totally Tenderly Tragically (film criticism); he runs the graduate nonfiction program at Columbia University.
For information on the Asian Art Museum’s event with James Ivory on April 8, please go to asianart.org.
Read "Novels and Films: A Comedy of Remarriage," an essay by Phillip Lopate.
Kathy Geritz, Film Curator
Saturday, March 3, 2012
6:00 p.m. Mr. & Mrs. Bridge
James Ivory (U.S., 1990). Archival Print! Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward are an upper-class couple in the 1930s and 1940s, trapped by a strict sense of decorum although each glimpses another way to live. From the novels by Evan S. Connell. “An elegant and exacting anatomy of a marriage” (Rolling Stone). (124 mins)
Friday, March 23, 2012
8:30 p.m. Le Divorce
James Ivory (U.S., 2003). Le Divorce is a fast-paced, effervescent adaptation of Diane Johnson’s novel of manners, featuring two American sisters abroad in France. “One of Merchant-Ivory’s most sophisticated and entertaining features” (Jonathan Rosenbaum). (117 mins)
Saturday, April 7, 2012
4:00 p.m. Chekhov for Children
Sasha Waters Freyer (U.S., 2010). Introduced by Phillip Lopate. In 1979, Phillip Lopate directed a Broadway version of Uncle Vanya—starring New York City fifth and sixth graders. Here, one student from that time reconnects with her classmates. “A celebration of the joyous possibilities of arts education” (Telluride Film Festival). (72 mins)
Saturday, April 7, 2012
7:00 p.m. A Soldier’s Daughter Never Cries
James Ivory (U.S., 1998). James Ivory and Phillip Lopate in conversation. Ivory adapts Kaylie Jones’s autobiographical novel of life with her father, author James Jones, in this saga of expatriate family life in Paris, told in three chapters. “Rarely has family life been presented with such refined precision” (TIFF). (124 mins)
This presentation is part of our ongoing series Afterimage: Filmmakers and Critics in Conversation, which is made possible by generous funding from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association and the continued support of the BAM/PFA Trustees. James Ivory’s visit is cosponsored by the Asian Art Museum, San Francisco. Special thanks to Graeme Vanderstoel and Deborah Clearwaters.