Re-Watch: Cruel Intentions (1999)

Cruel Intentions
Director: Roger Kumble
Writer: Roger Kumble
Based on: Pierre Choderlos de Laclos’ epistolary novel
Cast: Sarah Michelle Gellar, Ryan Phillippe, Reese Witherspoon, Selma Blair, Louise Fletcher, Joshua Jackson, Eric Mabius, Sean Patrick Thomas, Swoosie Kurtz, Christine Baranski, Tara Reid
Seen on: 7.2.2016
[This concludes my Dangerous Liaisons marathon. At least until I can get ahold of the other adaptations.]

Plot:
Sebastian Valmont (Ryan Phillippe) and Kathryn Merteuil (Sarah Michelle Gellar) are step siblings, 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 Annette Hargrove (Reese Whitherspoon), the new principal’s daughter, who is widely known for her chastity pledge and that before school starts. Kathryn, on the other hand, is looking for revenge on an ex-lover who just dumped her for the naive Cecile (Selma Blair). So she enlists Valmont’s help to completely corrupt Cecile.

I was 14 when Cruel Intentions came out, 15 by the time I saw it the first time and I think that it is one of the defining teen movies of my generation. That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a good film, though it definitely does have its strengths, but it is very hard to view it separately from its influence.

cruelintentions Continue reading

Advertisements

Re-Watch: Valmont (1989)

Valmont
Director: Milos Forman
Writer: Jean-Claude Carrière, Milos Forman
Based on: Pierre Choderlos de Laclos’ epistolary novel
Cast: Colin Firth, Annette Bening, Meg Tilly, Fairuza Balk, Siân Phillips, Jeffrey Jones, Henry Thomas, Fabia Drake
Seen on: 1.2.2016

Plot:
The Victome de Valmont (Colin Firth) and the Marquise de Merteuil (Annette Bening) 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 (Meg Tilly) who is staying at his aunt’s (Fabia Drake) 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 ex-lover Gercourt (Jeffrey Jones) who just got engaged to the naive Cécile (Fairuza Balk) who has spent practically her entire life in a convent. So she enlists Valmont’s help to completely corrupt Cécile.

Valmont is in many things much less faithful to the original novel than Dangerous Liaisons, but that doesn’t hurt the film one bit. It’s a fantastic, enjoyable film with a great cast.

valmont

[SPOILERS]

Continue reading

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.

DangerousLiaisons

[SPOILERS] Continue reading

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.

choderlosdelaclos_schlimmeliebschaften

[SPOILERS]

Continue reading

Les Liaisons Dangereuses

Les Liaisons Dangereuses
Director: Josie Rourke
Writer: Christopher Hampton
Based on: Pierre Choderlos de Laclos‘ epistolary novel
Cast: Dominic West, Janet McTeer, Elaine Cassidy, Morfydd Clark, Una Stubbs, Adjoah Ando, Edward Holcroft, Jennifer Saayeng
Seen on: 28.1.2016
[Prepare to get a whole lot of Liaisons things in the next few days.]

Plot:
The Victome de Valmont (Dominic West) and the Marquise de Merteuil (Janet McTeer) 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 (Elaine Cassidy) who is staying at his aunt’s (Una Stubbs) 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 (Morfydd Clark) who has spent pracitcally her entire life in a convent. So she enlists Valmont’s help to completely corrupt Cécile.

Les Liaisons Dangereuses is an almost perfect production of an almost perfect adaptation of one of my favorite novels. I absolutely loved it.

lesliaisonsdangereuses Continue reading

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.

Continue reading