After having so much fun during the classic horror movie marathon at Brattle Theatre, I kept looking for an adventurous reason to go back. That opportunity arose when they hosted a Q&A session with James Ivory from Merchant Ivory Productions. James Ivory directed the movie versions of both The Remains of the Day and Howards End. I’m not totally familiar with the process of making a film–I’m more of a book girl–so the talk was really informative.
A few highlights:
- Everyone (myself–until recently–included) assumes he’s English, but he’s not. He finds this hilarious. Personally, I’d also like to live my life so that people assume I’m from England.
- He loved The Fantastic Mr. Fox, which reminded him of Ingmar Bergman’s The Magic Flute.
- He feels that small historical details can give a movie the richness and atmosphere it needs, and mentioned a fact he learned while doing research for Jefferson in Paris: whenever anyone paid a call to the court of Louis XIV and mentioned his name, all men present had to take off their hats… including Louis XIV.
It’s always inspiring to be the presence of someone who is great at and passionate about their craft. Merchant Ivory Productions was headed up by a group of friends (a director, a producer, and a writer) who lived on different floors in the same apartment building, always ate breakfast together, and fought about and filmed great movies. Hearing him speak about that communal creative process was quite inspiring. I’ll definitely watch more of his films in the future.