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Loving Highsmith

With the excellent new documentary on Patricia Highsmith, we are supporting this with 4 films adapted from her novels, and an illustrated talk. This strand includes Eva Vitija’s new documentary about the American author whose books inspired so many memorable films, together with screenings of four film adaptations and a richly illustrated talk.

Ever since Alfred Hitchcock’s memorable adaptation of Patricia Highsmith’s debut novel, ‘Strangers on a Train,’ her dark, disturbing yet often grimly hilarious work has proved a magnet for filmmakers.

Among the work by those in Europe who took over the baton from Hitchcock were the first two adaptations of the Ripley novels, her pentalogy about the sophisticated serial killer. Perhaps the best is Wim Wenders’ radical reimagining of Ripley #3, ‘Ripley’s Game’, retitled ‘The American Friend’, with Dennis Hopper and Bruno Ganz.

The success of Anthony Minghella’s all-star version of ‘The Talented Mr Ripley’, with Matt Damon, Jude Law, Gwyneth Paltrow and Cate Blanchett rekindled the interest of filmmakers in Highsmith, resulting in a number of further adaptations in the 21st century.

Outstanding among these is ‘Carol’, Todd Haynes’s striking period lesbian romance based on her second novel and also featuring Blanchett. To complement the screening of the four feature films we are excited to present Eva Vitija’s new documentary, ‘Loving Highsmith’, and ‘The Dark Angel on Screen’, a talk reflecting on the entire range of film and TV adaptations of the novelist’s work, which will include clips from 20 different film and TV versions.

- Patrick Hargood