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WHEN EAST AND WEST COLLIDE...,
This review is from: A Passage To India [DVD]  (DVD)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 occasion, 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. It is a collision of East and West and makes for a definitive statement about the nature of the relationship between the native Indian population and the British colonialists. It is a relationship that makes itself most manifest during the telling courtroom scenes, making it a film to be remembered.
This is a very well acted and compelling film, a sterling tribute to David Lean's directorial talents. In this, his last cinematic triumph, Lean leaves a legacy to be remembered, having exacted wonderful performances from the star studded cast, including James Fox, Alec Guinness, and Nigel Havers. Victor Banerjee is especially compelling as the put upon, well meaning Dr. Aziz, while Peggy Ashcroft gives a sensitive and well nuanced performance as the humane and soft hearted Mrs. Moore. Judy Davis is excellent as the conflicted Ms. Quested.
The DVD itself is first rate, offering crystal clear visuals that do justice to the breathtaking cinematography. Coupled with crisp sound, this DVD ensures one's viewing pleasure. It is one well worth having in one's collection.