A Celebration of Hudson Valley's James Ivory

James Ivory, the film director, producer, and screenwriter whose partnership with producer Ismail Merchant and screenwriter Ruth Prawer Jhabvala practically created a genre under the tent of Merchant Ivory Productions, will step out of his early 19th-century mansion home in the Hudson Valley, N.Y., and make a rare public appearance for a series of screenings and Q&As at Hudson Hall starting Thursday, Sept. 16.

The 95-year-old director was nominated three times over the course of the 1980s and 90s by the Academy Awards, but it was not until 2018 that he received the first Oscar of his career for his screenplay for Luca Guadagnino's film "Call Me By Your Name," adapted from André Aciman’s novel of the same name. At 89, he was the oldest-ever recipient of an Academy Award.

Beloved for their sensitively drawn yet emotionally accessible portraits of intellectuals tumbling headfirst into the thorny garden of love, it's strange to think that Merchant Ivory's upper-crust European romances came from an American director, an Indian producer, and a German-Jewish New York writer. Ivory, Merchant, and Jhabvala often adapted the work of English novelist E. M. Forster, including "A Room With A View" and "Howard's End." Ivory even dug up what was considered to be a minor, inferior work, published posthumously after Forster's death — he adapted the novel as the film "Maurice," a groundbreaking romance that served as Hugh Grant's first film role.

Decades later, Oscar in hand, Ivory in the last of his team. Ismail Merchant, not just a collaborator but Ivory's long-term domestic partner at his Hudson Valley home, died in 2005, and Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, who won two Academy Awards for her Ivory directed screenplays, died in her home in New York City in 2013. Their intelligent, witty, and painterly-composed films redefined the genre of historical drama and have become inseparable from the novels they tenderly brought to the screen.

"The Bostonians" (1984) will screen on Saturday, Sept. 16, at 2 p.m. followed by a Q&A with Ivory. "Call Me By Your Name" (2017) will screen that evening at 7 p.m. with a discussion between Ivory and producer Peter Spears. "Shakespeare Wallah" (1965) will be screened on Sunday, Sept. 17, at 3 p.m., followed by a discussed between Ivory and the late Ruth Prawer Jhabvala's daughter, Firoza Jhabvala. For more go to www.hudsonhall.org

James Ivory at the 90th Academy Awards. Photo Featureflash Photo Agency

Ivory won his first Oscar for writing "Call Me By Your Name," starring Timothée Chalamet. Production still MovieStillsDB

James Ivory at the 90th Academy Awards. Photo Featureflash Photo Agency

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