Quartet (1981)

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Director: James Ivory

Writer: Jean Rhys (novel), Ruth Prawer Jhabvala (screenplay)

Cast: Alan Bates, Maggie Smith, Isabelle Adjani, Anthony Higgins

Synopsis: Director James Ivory brings the bohemian Paris neighbourhood of Montparnasse in the 1920s to life in this film based on the novel by Jean Rhys. Isabelle Adjani stars as Marya Zelli, a beautiful young wife who finds herself destitute after her art dealer husband is sent to prison for theft.

A rich patron, H.J. Heidler (Alan Bates), and his painter wife, Lois (Maggie Smith), offer to take Marya in. Heidler, a womanising ogre with a history of taking advantage of helpless young women, soon seduces Marya while Lois painfully accepts his philandering ways. Rhys based her novel on her own experiences as a young woman in Paris after her husband was sent to jail. The writer Ford Madox Ford, who promised to help the young novelist with her writing, befriended Rhys. He and his artist wife, Stella, took her in and Rhys became Ford's lover. However, as Quartet reveals, there was no easy resolution to Rhys's or Marya's predicament.


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