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LRB Screen X MUBI: Quartet 18

Screened in partnership with London Review of Books
James Ivory, France, UK, 1981, 101m.

LRB Screen, the London Review Bookshop’s long-running film series, returns to the Garden Cinema in 2024 to continue its exploration of the art of literary adaption in partnership with MUBI.

The series continues with Quartet (1981), James Ivory’s vivid and rarely screened adaptation of Jean Rhys’s 1928 novel of the same name. Surprisingly, it is one of only three of Rhys’s works to have been filmed (though Wide Sargasso Sea has been adapted three times). Set in the bohemian art world of Left Bank 1920s Paris and drawn from Rhys’s own experience of complex emotional liaisons, the film ‘retains its power to unsettle in its accumulation of cuts and bruises; the rare Merchant-Ivory-Jhabvala effort that mines a glamorized past not for nuanced dignity but for a kind of elegant, honest sordidness’ (Los Angeles Times).

Introducing the film, and discussing it afterwards with regular host Gareth Evans, will be Rhys’s biographer Miranda Seymour, whose I Used to Live Here Once: The Haunted Life of Jean Rhys was published in 2022; the Sunday Times called it ‘close to a masterpiece’.

Isabelle Adjani, Alan Bates, Maggie Smith

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