E.M. Foster’s brilliant study of the clash of cultures begins when the widowed Lilia Herriton (Helen Mirren) is packed off to Italy in an effort to keep her out of mischief and perhaps to effect an improvement of her mind. Her suspicious English in-laws, however, are soon shocked to learn that she has done more than acquire a little culture – she has fallen in love with an impoverished Italian several years her junior.

Mrs Herriton (Barbara Jefford) dispatches her son, Philip (Rupert Graves) to the small Tuscan town of Monteriano to defend the family name and bring the defiant Lilia to her senses – but it is already too late. Lilia and Gino (Giovanni Guidelli), the handsome twenty-one-year old son of the local dentist, were married as soon as they knew Philip was on his way.

The tug-of-war which follows, first to bring Lilia home again and then to bring her baby back to England, becomes a struggle both comic and tragic. But for Philip and Lilia’s sister-in-law (Judy Davis) and for her friend Caroline (Helena Bonham Carter) the atmosphere of Italy works its inevitable magic. In true Forsterian style the prim and snobbish English are themselves transformed are arrive at a new awareness of a more passionate and heartfelt way of life.

Rupert Graves …. Philip Herriton
Helen Mirren …. Lilia Herriton
Helena Bonham Carter …. Caroline Abbott
Barbara Jefford …. Mrs. Herriton
Judy Davis …. Harriet Herriton
Thomas Wheatley …. Mr. Kingcroft
Sophie Kullmann …. Irma
Vass Anderson …. Mr. Abbott
Sylvia Barter …. Mrs. Theobald
Eileen Davies …. Ethel
Siria Betti …. Hotel-Keeper
Giovanni Guidelli …. Gino Carella
Anna Lelio …. Perfetta
Luca Lazzareschi …. Spiridione
Sergio Falasca …. Carriage Driver
Giuseppe Vivenzio …. Carriage Driver
Evelina Meghangi …. Opera Singer
Gaetano Piro …. Hooded Man
Tullio Baccellini …. Postman
Lea Burroni …. Hotel Maid
Clementina Sguerri …. Hotel Maid
Charlie Pinsent …. Girl in Cafe
Alessandro Casini …. Gino’s Baby

Charles Sturridge …. Director
Jeffrey Taylor …. Executive Producer
Nick Elliott …. Executive Producer
Derek Granger …. Producer
Tim Sullivan …. Writer
Olivia Stewart …. Line Producer
Rachel Portman …. Original Music
Michael Coulter …. Cinematographer
Peter Coulson …. Film Editor
Rita Forzano, Joyce Gallie …. Casting
Simon Holland …. Production Designer
Luigi Marchione ….Art Director
Monica Howe …. Costume Design