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A persistent clash of cultures lies at the heart of Heat and Dust, the Merchant/Ivory team's most acclaimed drama prior to 1985's A Room with a View. The celebrated trio of director James Ivory, producer Ismail Merchant, and screenwriter Ruth Prawer Jhabvala were perfectly suited to this time-skipping story of thwarted romance, based on Jhabvala's novel, in which the colonial British find themselves perpetually at odds with the vibrant rhythms of India. In this most sensual of environments, two related British women, separated by six decades, discover that their independent spirits are not entirely welcomed within the confines of colonial etiquette. Olivia (Greta Scacchi) defies her stringent husband in the 1920s, while her great-niece Anne (Julie Christie) discovers, upon getting pregnant by an Indian local in the early '80s, that she and Olivia have more than a little in common. Jhabvala's feminism is subtle but forcefully dramatized, and under Ivory's sensitive direction, this tale of two women is a defiantly resonant tribute to love wherever one may find it.

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Special Features * Autobiography of a Princess, a 55-minute film about Royal India starring James Mason and Madhur Jaffrey, directed by James Ivory and written by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala * Conversation with the filmmakers, part of a new series of interviews with James Ivory, Ismail Merchant, and Ruth Prawer Jhabvala and Richard Robbins

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HEA070 Heat and Dust/Autobiography Of A Princess (1983/Greta Scacchi/Julie Christie/1975/James Mason) $19.95