The Sword and the Flute (1959)


James Ivory’s second documentary, The Sword and The Flute, also dealing with schools of art, grew out of his experience in making Venice: Theme and Variations. Only here, instead of photographing works by the Italian masters, he has used superb examples of Indian miniature paintings. Ivory’s intelligent script, narrated with feeling by Saeed Jaffrey, and accompanied by the music of Ravi Shankar and Ali Akbar Khan, traces the history of Indian miniature painting after the Moghul invasion as it develops into two principal schools, the Moghul (Muslim) and the Rajput (Hindu). 

Director: James Ivory.
Writers James Ivory.
Stars: Saeed Jaffrey (narrator).
Cinematographer: Mindaugus Bagdon (as Mindaugis Bagdon).
Composer: Ali Akbar Khan, Chatur Lal, D.R. Parvatikar, Ravi Shankar, T. Visvanathan.


Downloaded from Archive, many thanks to scampbell3 for making this available. This short film was included as an extra in Criterion’s 2004 DVD release of THE HOUSEHOLDER (now OOP) but to my surprise the copy on this DVD is much inferior than this one which seems to be transferred from a 16mm print, the sound might be marginally better but the image quality is not very good at all, it’s very dark, this one while also not great since it’s a low resolution copy (upscaled) it has brighter colors and better detail believe it or not. You can see some comparison screenshots here alignment is not perfect as it seems the framing was different but you get the idea, besides the things I mentioned the DVD version also has less image on all sides. Enjoy!

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