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Thanks! -- Arnie Perlstein, now living in "Portlandia"!

Monday, December 21, 2015

Love and Friendship fka Lady Susan, "that compound of Cruelty and Lust"

In Janeites & Austen-L, Ellen Moody wrote the following today:  "Whit Stillman is said to be filming an adaptation of Lady Susan"

Ellen, he's not filming it, it's done--or it better be done VERY soon, given that the film will be premiering at the Sundance Film Festival in just under 5 weeks from today!

I know this because I will be there in Park City (my first time attending Sundance, I am very excited!) on the wonderful occasion of the premiere of another film of great personal interest to me, the documentary Unlocking the Cage:

http://www.sundance.org/projects/unlocking-the-cage
The man in the photos is my good friend Steve Wise who is the focus of the film--he's the attorney whom you may have read about or seen on TV, who brought several lawsuits in NY State during 2015 asking the court to declare chimpanzees as legal "persons"--seeking to emulate Granville Sharp's success in the 1772 Mansfield Case which was the first to declare an African slave a legal person under British law.  In 2005, Steve wrote a history of the Mansfield Case entitled Though the Heaven's May Fall which I read in 2006 when I was first delving into the slavery subtext of Mansfield Park, and when I looked in the bookflap, I saw that Steve lived a 15 minute drive from me in South Florida--and so our friendship began.

Anyway, back to Jane Austen at Sundance. As I've blogged previously......


http://tinyurl.com/ns28rl4
 .....it does not bode well that Stillman has entitled his adaptation of Lady Susan as Love and Friendship---- he thereby manages to mix up two separate short works of fiction written by Jane Austen prior to her writing the six novels-----and, as a final oddity, Stillman eliminates JA's characteristic misspelling of Love and Fr-EI-ndship!
But....since Chloe Sevigny and Kate Beckinsale are both accomplished actresses, I still hold out hope that the film will do a good job of translating Lady Susan's brilliant and unapologetic sociopathy to the screen.
If only Stillman will keep firmly in mind what Jane Austen wrote in 1813 after seeing a performance of some stage adaptation of the Don Juan story:

"“I have seen nobody on the stage who has been a more interesting Character than that compound of Cruelty and Lust”.
Cheers, ARNIE
@JaneAustenCode on Twitter

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