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Thanks! -- Arnie Perlstein, Portland, OR

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:
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...... 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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