Friday, September 30, 2022

The Talented Miss Ripley

“My envy turned to hatred and my hatred to contempt.” “I am married to my mother I shall never wed another.” “I never write a mystery, I write a story.” Eva Vitija’s Loving Highsmith, which recently completed a run at Film Forum, is full of lines culled from filmed interviews and diary entries from the author of novels like Strangers on a Train (famously adapted by Alfred Hitchcock in l951). Perhaps the most succinct and unforgettable is what she says about the iconic character who appears in five novels starting with The Talented Mr. Ripley written in 1955. “He kills only when he thinks it’s right.” It’s the kind of locution that’s a head turner, one of those esthetic statements that’s powerfully value free. Loving Highsmith deals with both the life and art of Patricia Highsmith, but does one necessarily inform the other? Highsmith’s voracious sexual appetites and the fixation on a mother who never reciprocated her love are one part of the story (along with Drag Kings and hermaphroditic snails).Then there’s the art. Highsmith is candid about her desires and comes off in the clips of her varying interviews as a mix of a dour Fran Liebowitz and yes Susan Sontag in terms of both her unrepentant franglais and almost predatory sexuality. However, can we say that the characters she created and what she had to say about them are more interesting than any of the details of her life and loves. Is Ripley for example, Highsmith’s alter ego or in his psychopathology something more? On the basis of the two personae the film portrays, the artistic creation might prevail.

read "Le Cercle Rouge" by Francis Levy, HuffPost

and watch the trailer for Erotomania

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