Home Entertainment New documentary examines the complex love life of ‘Carol’ author Patricia Highsmith

New documentary examines the complex love life of ‘Carol’ author Patricia Highsmith

by YAR

Author Patricia Highsmith rose to worldwide fame with 1950’s “Strangers on a Train” and 1955’s “The Talented Mr. Ripley,” but a new documentary reveals her private life was even more multifaceted than her novels.

Filmmaker Eva Vitija took a hard look at many of Highsmith’s personal notes and diaries for “Loving Highsmith.” Screening at the 2022 Provincetown International Film Festival in Provincetown, Massachusetts this week ahead of a planned wider release, the film is a compelling look at Highsmith’s romantic relationships with women during her lifetime.

Born in Texas, Highsmith spent much of her adult life in Europe, settling in Switzerland. She died in 1995 at age 74, just four years before “The Talented Mr. Ripley” was adapted into a big movie starring Matt Damon and Jude Law.

The author drew heavily from her own life while writing the 1952 lesbian romance “The Price of Salt,” which was published under the pseudonym Claire Morgan. In 1990, the book was republished as “Carol,” this time under Highsmith’s name. The book was the basis for the 2015 film starring Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara.

Watch the trailer for “Loving Highsmith” below.

“Loving Highsmith” features interviews with several of Highsmith’s surviving girlfriends and paints the author as a somewhat divisive figure in the queer literary canon. He is believed to have viewed homosexuality as a psychological flaw and often conflated homoeroticism with homicide, most notably in “The Talented Mr. Ripley”.

“Patrica Highsmith was a child of her time. And she wasn’t fighting for gay rights,” Vitija told Variety in April. “For her, love is such a brutal experience that she extinguished her as a person which is a death experience, so murder is never far away. In the love scenes of ‘Carol’ and how she describes them, death is always just around the corner”.

Still, Vitija emphasizes that Highsmith’s “wildly romantic and poetic side” is the focal point of her film. “She was a completely different Patricia Highsmith than the one she was reading about in biographies or mostly newspaper articles,” she said.

The Provincetown International Film Festival will screen “Loving Highsmith” this Thursday and Saturday. Other highlights of the five-day event, which runs from Wednesday to Sunday, include the Sundance Audience Award winner “Cha Cha Real Smooth” and the gay romantic comedy “Fire Island,” starring Joel Kim Booster and Bowen Yang. .

Organizers say the festival will also showcase local filmmakers like Todd Flaherty, whose black comedy “Chrissy Judy” will have its world premiere on Thursday.



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