Disgrace

**

Life is first boredom, then fear…at first I was bored (since I knew what happened in the novel), and then I was distressed (since I knew what happened in the novel).  Seeing the action objectively deprived Lurie’s actions of any kind of justification, and also deprived him of his self-justifying Humbert-Humbert-style voice.  In fact, here it did look as though Melissa executed a bad stage fall to attract his attention, but I don’t think that was how it was meant.

In general, it seemed to be a very literal-minded transposition of the book, with perhaps more of an attempt to make Lurie’s screwing-around parallel the men who rape Lucy (Lurie–Lucy. Oh!)  In fact, it hadn’t occurred to me in the book that Melanie Isaacs was meant to be coloured.  A lot of South Africanisms had been suppressed in the dialogue–and John Malkovich’s  accent did not convince–but I was glad to see that Bev proffered a condom to Lurie in some recognition of the country’s HIV prevalence.

I’m not sure that Lurie attempting to compose an opera about Byron (and Byron’s dual status as representative of all that time has disproved and sexual predator) received its full weight here.  Petrus was perhaps more of an equivocal belonging-to-the-other-world figure in the book, whereas here he rather seemed to represent progress of a kind that was sweeping Lucy and David away.

At the end of the film, Lucy asks Lurie in for a cup of tea as though they could perhaps make a new beginning.  This is the second last scene in the novel–the last one there is where Lurie carries the dog he’s been keeping for himself in to be put down.   Like changing around the order of the books of the OT to give a different message.

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