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Maurice

Directed by James Ivory.
With James Wilby, Rupert Graves, Hugh Grant.
UK, 1987, 35mm, color, 140 min.
Print source: HFA

E.M. Forster’s novel of gay love begun in the 1910s and later revised, was published only after its author’s death. Similarly, Maurice’s 1987 film adaptation was something of a pioneer, appearing at a time when same-sex content was still almost solely the province of European art film and experimental cinema. Forster’s romance is a class-crossing affair between the solidly bourgeois title character and a gamekeeper, the better to cast a critical eye on society and its discontents. Ivory and Lhomme respond with restrained hues and dim lighting for interiors, which contrast with floods of color and light for the external scenes, many of which are associated with Scudder, the gamekeeper. The cinematography eschews any nostalgic glow to its Edwardian setting, favoring a restrained naturalism that is by turns handsome and oppressive.

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