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Quartet is a romantic drama that was written by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala based upon a novel by Jean Rhys. Produced by Humbert Balsan, the film features Isabelle Adjani, Anthony Higgins, Maggie Smith and Alan Bates. Set in Paris in 1927, the story follows Marya Zelli (played by Isabelle Adjani) who is a young, carefree Bohemian woman in the midst of a lovely Parisian life. However, her life is turned upside down and shattered after her husband Stephan (played by Anthony Higgins) is suddenly jailed for alleged art theft. Since she has no money and lacks the ability to support herself, she is not sure how she will survive.

British couple, Lois and H.J. Heidler (played by Maggie Smith and Alan Bates) come to the rescue and kindly take her in.

The couple have a very distinctly unorthodox and open marriage with regard to each of them. The rules are that as long as there is no chance that their reputation could be ruined, they are allowed to indulge themselves with outside romantic activities.

However, Lois does not think it proper for Marya to visit with her husband while he is in prison. To complicate the situation, H.J. has fallen for Marya. He has invited her into the household for the express purpose of furthering his own romantic gratification. While he and his wife have an open marriage, his wife is not entirely approving of his prospective dalliance.

Marya is living with the couple purely as a matter of her survival. She goes about her Parisian evenings sampling the nightlife. She dabbles in pornography by auditioning for theatrical possibilities there. All this time, she is able to maintain her position as the mistress of H.J.

Marya’s incarcerated husband only wants his wife to survive until he is released from prison.

R
| 1981 | 1 hr 41 min | 6.5/10 | 62/100
Cast
Isabelle Adjani, Suzanne Flon, S├ębastien Floche, Anthony Higgins
Studio
Criterion Collection
Director
James Ivory
Language
French
Ad
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Quartet|2:06

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