David Lean 'A Passage to India' Screening

A Passage to India by David LeanA Passage to India, David Lean's final film as a director and a 1984 Best Picture nominee, is the next feature in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' “Great To Be Nominated” series. The sweeping drama will screen on Monday, June 18, at 7:30 p.m. at the Academy's Samuel Goldwyn Theater.

I'm not a big fan of David Lean's epics (Lawrence of Arabia, The Bridge on the River Kwai, Doctor Zhivago) – I much prefer the director's smaller, more intimate dramas (Brief Encounter, Hobson's Choice, The Passionate Friends). A Passage to India falls somewhere between the two Leans: It's an epic full of little, intimate moments.

Based on E.M. Forster's novel, the story concerns several British tourists and colonialists in 1920s India, one of whom (Judy Davis) accuses an Indian doctor (Victor Banerjee) of sexually molesting her in a cave. Others in the cast are Nigel Havers, James Fox, Roshan Seth, Saeed Jaffrey, and Alec Guinness, donning “tan” make-up in his sixth collaboration with director Lean.

My problem with A Passage to India, which I saw eons ago, was that I found it too cold and detached – just like the British in India. My opinion of the film could well change next time I watch it.

But even if it doesn't, I know that I will appreciate at least one element in the film: Veteran stage actress Peggy Ashcroft. Her final moment – when India takes full possession of her – is pure screen magic. And of course, the movie does look stunning.

A Passage to India earned a total of 11 Academy Award nominations. (Amadeus dominated the awards that year.) It won the Oscars for Actress in a Supporting Role (Ashcroft) and Music - Original Score (Maurice Jarre). The film also received nominations for Best Picture (John Brabourne and Richard Goodwin, producers), Actress in a Leading Role (Judy Davis), Art Direction (John Box, Leslie Tomkins, Set Decoration: Hugh Scaife), Cinematography (Ernest Day), Costume Design (Judy Moorcroft), Directing (David Lean), Film Editing (Lean), Sound (Graham V. Hartstone, Nicolas Le Messurier, Michael A. Carter, John Mitchell), and Writing - Screenplay based on material from another medium (Lean).

Prior to the feature, Jon Bloom's 1983 Oscar-nominated live action short Overnight Sensation will be screened. Bloom will be on hand to participate in a panel discussion.

Passes for the remaining screenings in part four of “Great To Be Nominated” are $30 for the general public and $25 for Academy members and students with a valid ID. A $5 discount is available for those who wish to renew their passes from parts one, two or three of the series. Individual tickets are $5 for the general public and $3 for Academy members and students with a valid ID. Passes and tickets may be purchased by mail, in person at the Academy during regular business hours or, depending on availability, on the night of the screening when the doors open at 6:30 p.m.

Tickets also may be purchased online at www.oscars.org/events. There are no minimum order requirements and no transaction or processing fees. Tickets may be purchased online until noon PST on the day of the event.

Curtain time for all features is 7:30 p.m., and pre-show elements will begin at 7 p.m. The Academy is located at 8949 Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills. For more information, call (310) 247-3600.

 

THE RIGHT STUFF: Great To Be Nominated

DOCTOR ZHIVAGO: Great To Be Nominated

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