In the spring of 1961, two young filmmakers—James Ivory (b. 1928) and Ismail Merchant (1936–2005)—met at a screening of The Sword and the Flute, Ivory’s documentary about Indian miniature painting. Shortly thereafter, they agreed to form a production company and by the end of the year persuaded Ruth Prawer Jhabvala (1927–2013) to adapt her novel The Householder to the screen, thus creating what would become the longest-running partnership in independent cinema.
This exhibition explores their extraordinary partnership, as documented in director James Ivory’s annotated film scripts, editing notebooks, and correspondence. Filled with countless revisions, edits, and sketches, this collection charts the inspired and collaborative origins of films from Shakespeare Wallah (1965) to The Remains of the Day (1993) to Call Me by Your Name (2017), for which Ivory received the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay earlier this year.