Solid Ivory James Ivory ; ed. by Peter Cameron


An interesting memoir of the talented American filmmaker James Ivory who uniquely travelled in his movies between cultures, shooting films in India, Europe and the US.

On most of his films he collaborated with the German/Polish screenwriter Ruth Prawer Jhabvala and the Indian producer Ismail Merchant. The latter being his life partner with whom he moved to Bombay and in Delhi he met Ruth, who was married to an Indian architect. They all ended up settling in New York. This unique collaboration explains maybe the incredible diverse style of his films and the cosmopolitanism in them. He talks about the help he got from Satyajit Ray for The Householder and Shakespeare Wallah and attending a class of Renoir teaching at UCLA. Interestingly we learn that he doesn’t like actors “that are too  conventional in appearance or personality” and doesn’t select new young actors on their beauty. He tells us about his infatuation with Venice, his trip to Kabul and the people that marked his life. I chose this book because I love all his movies, he is such a master in adapting literary work to the screen, in portraying the complexity of people and the clashes of different cultures. The style of his writing in this memoir is chatty, lively and never boring.

Available at the library

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