Re-Watch: Dangerous Liaisons (1988)

Dangerous Liaisons
Director: Stephen Frears
Writer: Christopher Hampton
Based on: his play which is in turn based on Pierre Choderlos de Laclos’ epistolary novel
Cast: Glenn Close, John Malkovich, Michelle Pfeiffer, Uma Thurman, Keanu Reeves, Swoosie Kurtz, Mildred Natwick, Peter Capaldi
Seen on: 29.1.2016

Plot:
The Victome de Valmont (John Malkovich) and the Marquise de Merteuil (Glenn Close) are thick as thieves, united in their love to manipulate and destroy the people around them, a skill they have so artfully mastered that their ploys don’t fall back on them. Both have a new project: Valmont is trying to seduce Madame de Tourvel (MIchelle Pfeiffer) who is staying at his aunt’s (Mildred Natwick) summer home and who is widely known for her morals and her loyalty to her husband. The Marquise, on the other hand, is looking for revenge on an ex-lover who just got engaged to the naive Cécile (Uma Thurman) who has spent practically her entire life in a convent. So she enlists Valmont’s help to completely corrupt Cécile.

After having so recently seen the play that was the starting point for the film, I must say that I was very much disappointed by the movie. I thought John Malkovich was miscast and the film never really finds its step. Michelle Pfeiffer is a sparkling star in it, though.

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Re-Read: Les Liaisons dangereuses [Dangerous Liaisons] (Pierre Choderlos de Laclos)

Les Liaisons dangereuses is an epistolary novel by Pierre Choderlos de Laclos. [I read it in the German translation by Heinrich Mann.]
Finished on: 29.1.2016

Plot:
The Victome de Valmont and the Marquise de Merteuil are thick as thieves, united in their love to manipulate and destroy the people around them, a skill they have so artfully mastered that their ploys don’t fall back on them. Both have a new project: Valmont is trying to seduce Madame de Tourvel who is staying at his aunt’s summer home and who is widely known for her morals and her loyalty to her husband. The Marquise, on the other hand, is looking for revenge on an ex-lover who just got engaged to the naive Cécile who has spent pracitcally her entire life in a convent. So she enlists Valmont’s help to completely corrupt Cécile.

I read this book for the first time when I was in school and I was very much intrigued by it, to say the least. But I haven’t re-read it since, so I was a little worried whether it would still hold up to scrutiny. Nevertheless, when it was announced that they’d show the play here, I figured it’s the ideal opportunity, to revisit the material (I almost finished it before seeing the play, too). Fortunately, the book is still fantastic in very many ways.

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Quartett (Quartet)

Quartet
Director: Àlex Ollé
Writer: Luca Francesconi
Based on: Heiner Müller‘s play which is in turn based on Pierre Choderlos de Laclosnovel Dangerous Liaisons
Cast: Allison Cook, Robin Adams
Part of: Wiener Festwochen

Plot:
The Marquise de Merteuil (Allison Cook) and the Vicomte de Valmont (Robin Adams) had an affair a long time ago. Since then their relationship has turned more into one of hate and rivalry. One day the Marquise feels a strange nostalgia about the Vicomte, just before he comes to visit her. She makes an attempt to rekindle their relationship but the Vicomte tells her that he has freshly fallen in love. That in turns leads to a kind of battle between the two where they alternately try to seduce and destroy each other.

I wanted to see this opera even though I am not a huge fan of modern operas – and this one didn’t change my mind one bit. But I liked the book and the various movie adaptations and I was interested to see what they would make of the source material. The results are mostly interesting but it’s the stage and production design that really made the evening for me.

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