A Passage to India Review
A Passage to India
Dec 14, 1984
[section label=”Behind the Scene”]
Behind the Scene and other Major Plot Points
During 1982, David Lean worked on the script. He spent six months in New Delhi, to have a close feeling of the country while writing. As he could not stay longer than that for tax reasons, then he moved to Zurich for three months finishing it there. Following the same method he had employed with Great Expectations (1946), he went through his copy of the novel, picking out the episodes that were indispensable and passing over those that did not advance the plot. Lean typed out the whole screenplay himself correcting it as he went along, following the principle that scripts are not written, but rewritten.
Casting of Victor Banerjee
Satyajit Ray, who had hoped to direct his adaptation of the book, recommended Victor Banerjee for the role of Dr Aziz. After some hesitation, David Lean cast Banerjee, but the director had to overcome the restrictions of British equity to employ an Indian actor. Lean got his way, and the casting made headlines in India. “It was a matter of national pride that an Indian was cast instead of an Asian from England,” observed Banerjee.
Judy Davis – I never realized how beautiful she was
I have never thought of Judy Davis as one of the most beautiful actresses. It’s not that she is ugly or anything but when I think of the most beautiful actresses in cinema, her name is obviously not at the top of the list. Plus, most of the movies I have seen her in are her later films, the oldest being Barton Fink and Naked Lunch. However, I saw A Passage to India a few days ago for the first time and I was in awe of how strikingly beautiful she was in that film. In the scene where she lies awake in bed before what was presumably a rain storm, I think she resembled Vivien Leigh a bit. And the scenes in court when there are close ups of her face made me marvel at her beauty even more. On top of that she was fantastic in the film. Great acting, great accent, great actress.
What do you think happened to Adela in the caves
Adela had a nervous breakdown of sorts. The cave represents the unconscious life and all that intense sexual energy she had been repressing within herself. It comes to wash over her like a flood and sends her into a state of complete disassociation.
There’s no evidence of that at all. But she did have a physical symptom: echoing in her brain. It’s possible she had a physical ailment resulting in an hallucination. Like heat stroke. Or some other physical problem. She remembered the truth when the symptom went away.
Yes, it was a symptom of her sexual repression – when she goes out on her bike earlier, she stumbles upon those statues of couples in sexual poses, she’s unsure of her fiancé, she asks Aziz about his wife and if they loved each other, etc. Then she goes into a cave (symbolic), hears the echoing and has a psychotic break
Why the scratches and blood? Everything seemed to be clawing at her, the heat, the experience of the cave and then what?
Heard that the scratches came from her running into cactus from the hills.
If Aziz was innocent, why did he apologize to Miss Quested in the letter, saying she had saved him from being in jail instead of with his family. Almost sounded like she lied to save him.
He thought about the conversation he had with Fielding, in which Fielding says “Don’t be too hard on Adela. She had the pressure of the entire British Empire on her, but she was still brave enough to tell the truth on the witness stand.”
Aziz realizes this was true, and if she had lied, he would be in jail. It took some bravery to defy her brother and the entire population of Englishmen and Englishwomen who wanted to convict Aziz. So he thanks her for that.
None of this exists in the book by E.M. Forster, on which the movie is based. In the book, he sends her no letter. The books ends on a more negative note. Fielding visits Aziz with his wife. They become reconciled, but Aziz tells Fielding that they can’t really be friends again until the British Raj ends.
Probably the movie wanted to end on a happier note, so they leave out the bit with Aziz telling Fielding that they can’t be friends, and adding a bit about Aziz sending a letter to Adela to make up.
Adela and Fielding
Am I the only who think that Fielding and Adela had to end up married? Their reunion with Aziz would be nice ending of the film. After all, Godbole says earlier in the film:” Why did Mrs Moore bring Miss Quested to Chandrapore?”. Fielding responded:” To marry the city magistrate”. Godbole:” Yes…Or to go to the Marabar with Dr Aziz. Or perhaps to meet you.” This wouldn’t be soapy at all – circle would be closed perfectly. Instead, Fielding married a daughter of Mrs. Moore (she appeared out of nowhere and didn’t have any influence on the events).I know that is faithful to the book but I think that David Lean was able to afford artistic freedom and to change the (little anti-climatic) end of the film. Your opinions?
No! It would be bizarre, Fielding going off to marry the girl that he believes (for whatever reasons) is allowing unjustified accusations to be made against his friend Aziz, who he clearly and unequivocally believes to be innocent of the allegations.
Marrying Stella makes more sense as one suspects she, like her mother and Fielding himself, has a high regard for the sub-continent, unlike Adela, who never really makes up her mind for herself.
Confused by ending
I have never been familiar with the novel A Passage To India so I was clueless going into the movie. I am confused the ending and never really understood what happened in the caves. It didn’t seem like Dr. Aziz did it. Why was she so upset once she lit the match? Please help!!!!
It’s been a while since I last saw the film, sometime last year; and the time when I read the book was before that, I believe, but I hope I can answer some part of your question.
Aziz and Fielding reconcile. However, they also realize that they cannot remain friends, not under the current conditions in India, and after the whole ordeal they’ve been through. Fielding realizes that he is more of an Englishman than he initially thought, and that he belongs among his own people. He has become more supportive of the British. Aziz also seems to embrace his own Indian identity.
Forster made the events that happen in the Marabar caves vague on purpose, and in the novel these events are perceived from the perspective of Aziz, if I’m not mistaken. In all likelyhood Aziz did nothing wrong, but the point is that this event divides the Indians and the British. The only Englishman willing to help Aziz is Fielding, and he is an atheist, and wishes to look past ethnicity in his judgment of people. The rest of the British seem unified in their support of Adele and condemn Aziz. Racial identity is a very important theme in A Passage to India, and this is the reason why it is hard for Fielding and Aziz to remain friends in the end.
I can’t really remember the match scene, so I can’t tell you anything about that, but perhaps some other visitor will know.
[section label=”RT/Meta Critic Review”]
RT/Meta Critic Review
Beautiful cinematography.(Christian C/RT)