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Madame Sousatzka

Overview

Shirley MacLaine is Madame Sousatzka, an aging piano instructor of Russian extraction. Entrenched in a dilapidated London rooming house, the Madame gives lessons only to the most gifted. She does not stop at mere instruction; Sousatzka insists that her pupils conduct their lives in the same genteel, cultured manner in which she was raised. Her prize student at the moment is an East Indian teenage boy Navin Chowdhry, who forms a strong and loving bond with the old woman. Director John Schlesinger occasionally cuts...
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Overview

Shirley MacLaine is Madame Sousatzka, an aging piano instructor of Russian extraction. Entrenched in a dilapidated London rooming house, the Madame gives lessons only to the most gifted. She does not stop at mere instruction; Sousatzka insists that her pupils conduct their lives in the same genteel, cultured manner in which she was raised. Her prize student at the moment is an East Indian teenage boy Navin Chowdhry, who forms a strong and loving bond with the old woman. Director John Schlesinger occasionally cuts away from the Madame and her pupil to allow comic space for the other tenants in Ashcroft's building, including an erstwhile songstress Twiggy and a gay osteopath Geoffrey Baydlon. Navim Chowdhry's mother is played by Shabana Azmi, an important star of Indian films.
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Michael Hastings
Director John Schlesinger reins in Shirley MacLaine's penchant for scenery-chewing in this story of a young piano prodigy (Navin Chowdhry) and his eccentric mentor. There's very little scenery for MacLaine to chew: set against the drab backdrop of London's suburbs, the film divides its time among the many characters in the boy's life, from his opportunistic mother (Shabana Azmi) to Sousatzka's leggy neighbor (Twiggy). Ultimately, Sousatzka is a parable pitting old world values against new world pressures, but Schlesinger and screenwriter Ruth Prawer Jhabvala (best known for her Merchant-Ivory adaptations) refrain from the treacly, teacher-pupil sermonizing of To Sir, with Love or the later Mr. Holland's Opus. The result is a refreshingly smaller film than most of MacLaine's Hollywood work, which may explain why the perennial Oscar nominee was passed over that year.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 3/1/1992
  • UPC: 096898084031
  • Original Release: 1988
  • Rating:

  • Source: Universal Studios
  • Format: VHS

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Shirley MacLaine Mme. Irina Sousatzka
Navin Chowdhry Manek Sen
Peggy Ashcroft Lady Emily
Twiggy Jenny
Shabana Azmi Sushila Sen
Leigh Lawson Ronnie Blum
Geoffrey Bayldon Mr. Cordle
Lee Montague Vincent Pick
Robert Rietty Leo Milev
Jeremy Sinden Woodford
Roger Hammond Lefrance
Christopher Adey Conductor
Barry Douglas Pianist at Portman Hall
Sam Howard Edward
Mohammed Ashiq Sunil
Carol Gillies Sousatzka's Mother
Roland Curram Menswear Salesman
Katherine Schlesinger Piano Student
Elizabeth Hayes Piano Student
Humphrey Burton Festival Announcer
Vernon Dobtcheff Music Critic
Peter-Hugo Daly Roadie
Jean Anderson Lady with Removal Men
Stephen Webber School Teacher
Charu Bala Chokshi 1st Punjabi Lady
Cheryl Miller Black Schoolgirl
David F. Doyle Street Youth
Sam Smart Street Youth
Susan Porrett Receptionist
Andrew St. Clair Festival Mime Artist
Technical Credits
John Schlesinger Director, Screenwriter
Luciana Arrighi Production Designer
Simon Bosanquet Associate Producer
Nat Crosby Cinematographer
Robin Dalton Producer
Noel Davis Casting
Gerald Gouriet Score Composer
Peter Honess Editor
Ruth Prawer Jhabvala Screenwriter
Simon Kaye Sound/Sound Designer
Peter Morgan Screenwriter
Mary Richards Production Manager
Amy Roberts Art Director, Costumes/Costume Designer
Chris Rose Asst. Director
Stephen Scott Art Director
Yonty Solomon Musical Direction/Supervision
Ian Whittaker Art Director
Jeremy Zimmerman Casting
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 28, 2003

    Shirley Mclaine and Shabana Azmi-Glorious

    This is a movie about a young prodigy, his mother, and his teacher. Shirley Mclaine plays the piano teacher. She teaches her young prodigy about life as she views it from her perspective. Shabana Azmi plays his mother, the long suffering one, who when her son is finally able to reap the rewards of her sacrifice is met with resistance from the teacher. Navin Chowdrey is the very attractive young man who plays on the heart strings, and brings his own set of issues. Shabana Azmi is delightful, and to see her in this irreverant part is worth the price of the movie.

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews