We are happy to announce the return of Print Screen this spring. Print Screen is a recurring series bridging the worlds of cinema and literature, where authors present films that complement and inspire their work, followed by discussions and book signings.
Paul La Farge, whose spellbinding new novel The Night Ocean is inspired by the lives of H. P. Lovecraft and his circle, will present Roger Corman’s The Haunted Palace on Tuesday, April 11. The gothic horror film takes its story from Lovecraft’s novel The Case of Charles Dexter Ward.
On Tuesday, April 25, Katie Kitamura will place her highly acclaimed latest novel A Separation in conversation with Claude Chabrol’s seminal thriller Le Boucher, about a naïve and selfless schoolteacher who befriends an ostensibly gentle butcher, only to soon suspect that he may be responsible for a string of local murders.
Occasioned by the release of his recent novel White Tears—a razor-sharp mystery about America’s history of greed, revenge, exploitation, and music— Hari Kunzru will present Passport to Pimlico, Henry Cornelius’s cheeky satire about secession in postwar England, on Wednesday, June 7.
And, finally, on Thursday, June 29, to celebrate the release of his prize-winning novel Kingdom Cons in English for the first time, Yuri Herrera has selected Robert Altman’s similarly surreal Raymond Chandler adaptation The Long Goodbye, in which Philip Marlowe (Elliott Gould) gets roped into two typically knotty plots.
Organized by Dennis Lim and Rachael Rakes.
Print Screen tickets go on sale April 6.
Paul La Farge, author of The Night Ocean, presents The Haunted Palace
Tuesday, April 11, 7:00pm
Paul La Farge’s The Night Ocean (Penguin Press) is a spellbinding new novel about secrets and scandals, inspired by the lives of H. P. Lovecraft and his circle. La Farge has selected The Haunted Palace, the gothic horror film made by Roger Corman amid his vaunted “Poe Cycle,” even though it takes its story from Lovecraft’s novel The Case of Charles Dexter Ward.
The Haunted Palace
Roger Corman, USA, 1963, 35mm, 87m
Corman regular Vincent Price stars as Ward, heir to a New England palace once owned by Joseph Curwen (also Price), a necromancer burned alive over a century earlier for conducting diabolical experiments on young women. After Ward assumes ownership of the estate, he learns that the palace and town are cursed, and that the vengeful spirit of Curwen is very much alive. Price clearly relishes the dual role of Ward and Curwen, shifting his creaky voice and ghoulish expressions with stark contrast, and appearing alongside fellow horror icon Lon Chaney Jr., who plays the ogreish groundskeeper of the decaying mansion. The Haunted Palace is a rare kind of Corman horror in that it fuses imagery and production elements from earlier Poe pictures with the weird mythos of Lovecraft.
La Farge on The Haunted Palace: “The Haunted Palace was marketed as one of a series of Corman films based on the writing of horror master Edgar Allan Poe—but the film is in fact based on H. P. Lovecraft’s The Case of Charles Dexter Ward, the only full-length novel Lovecraft ever wrote, and one of his most autobiographical works. It tells the story of a young man growing up, as Lovecraft did, in Providence, Rhode Island; like Lovecraft, he has a taste for walking around at night, admiring old buildings, and looking things up in libraries. He stumbles on the story of a lost ancestor, the mysterious Joseph Curwen, whose name and biography have been erased from nearly every public record, and thus begins an obsession that leads to young Ward’s raising his ancestor from the dead. As you might guess, this turns out to be a bad idea.
Corman’s adaptation brings in elements from other Lovecraft tales: the town of Arkham, where all sorts of creepy Lovecraftian things happen; strangely deformed people who turn out to be the result of a project to interbreed human women and extra-cosmic monsters; and the Necronomicon, a book of forbidden knowledge that grants great power to the person who reads it but also has a tendency to drive him or her mad. The film also features the talents of Vincent Price, who plays both Ward and the evil Joseph Curwen; and Lon Chaney Jr., as Curwen’s friend, the centuries-old warlock Simon Orne.
Lovecraft might have cringed at the way Corman mixed up his storylines, squeezed them into a few sets that are manifestly too small for the action they contain, and lit the whole thing in lurid yellows and greens; but The Haunted Palace, which was the first screen adaptation of Lovecraft’s work, is a delight to watch. It was an inspiration for me as I worked on The Night Ocean, which also draws, in its own strange way, on The Case of Charles Dexter Ward.”
About Paul La Farge: Paul La Farge is the author of the novels The Artist of the Missing (1999), Haussmann, or the Distinction (2001), and Luminous Airplanes (2011), as well as The Facts of Winter (2005), a book of imaginary dreams. His stories and essays have appeared in The New Yorker, Harper’s, The Believer, McSweeney’s, Nautilus, Conjunctions, and elsewhere. He has won the Bard Fiction Prize, two California Book Awards, and the Bay Area Book Critics’ Award for fiction. In 2013-14 he was a fellow at the Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library. He has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Guggenheim Foundation, and the New York Foundation for the Arts.
Katie Kitamura, author of A Separation, presents Le Boucher
Tuesday, April 25, 8:30pm
Katie Kitamura’s latest, A Separation (Riverhead Books), is a suspenseful account of intimacy and infidelity, unfolding in a remote Greek Village. To pair with her highly acclaimed new work, Kitamura has chosen Claude Chabrol’s seminal relationship thriller Le Boucher.
Claude Chabrol, France/Italy, 1970, 93m
French with English subtitles
Naïve and selfless schoolteacher Hélène (Stéphane Audran)—the picture of sympathy and popularity—befriends ostensibly gentle butcher Popaul (Jean Yanne, playing both pathetic and menacing) at a wedding in the small village where they both live. They enter into an unexpectedly solid-seeming relationship. But after a number of girls are murdered nearby, Hélène finds herself grappling with her intensifying suspicions that Popaul is responsible, especially when a lighter she’d given him as a gift turns up at one of the crime scenes… Le Boucher fully expresses Chabrol’s Hitchcockian project of infusing suspense with social critique, spellbindingly unveiling the monstrous urges rumbling behind the facade of provincial gentility.
Kitamura on Le Boucher: “The whispers of children, a face behind a pane of glass, a drop of blood on a piece of bread—in Le Boucher, Claude Chabrol arranges these components into a masterpiece of fear and complicity. The film is both thriller and love story, the pacing is immaculate, and the denouement is ice cold.”
About Katie Kitamura: Katie Kitamura is a critic and novelist living in New York City. She is the author of Gone to the Forest and The Longshot, both of which were finalists for the New York Public Library’s Young Lions Fiction Award. A recipient of a Lannan Residency Fellowship, Kitamura has written for The New York Times, The Guardian, Granta, BOMB, Triple Canopy, and is a regular contributor to Frieze. Her latest novel, A Separation, was published by Riverhead Books.
Hari Kunzru, author of White Tears, presents Passport to Pimlico
Wednesday, June 7, 7:00pm
Occasioned by the release of his recent novel White Tears (Alfred A. Knopf)—a razor-sharp mystery about America’s history of greed, revenge, exploitation, and music—Hari Kunzru will present Passport to Pimlico, Henry Cornelius’s cheeky satire about secession in postwar England.
Passport to Pimlico
Henry Cornelius, UK, 1949, 84m
In the London neighborhood of the film’s title, a bomb explosion unearths a trove of documents to fish-shop owner Arthur Pemberton (Stanley Holloway), one of them declaring Pimlico as part of Burgundy, France. Looking to take advantage of the country’s period of austerity and rationing, the locals declare independence from the British government. Cornelius’s debut feature was shot on location in 1949 in London’s war-ravaged streets, imbuing an otherwise lighthearted comedy from Ealing Studios (Kind Hearts and Coronets, The Ladykillers) with an undeniable sense of World War II’s devastation.
Kunzru on Passport to Pimlico: “I have always been interested in national identity, particularly British national identity. Growing up in London with an Indian father and and English mother, the question of belonging was always a personal one for me. All my work seems to revolve around characters who are outsiders in some way, whose identity is in play or in process. In the 1949 Ealing comedy Passport to Pimlico, a London neighborhood secedes from the UK, asserting its ancient “Burgundian” territorial rights. Seen in the light of Brexit, it’s almost painfully topical, as the newly minted Burgundians explore the possibilities of autonomy from the crown. It’s also a very funny look at postwar austerity and the kind of community people hoped would emerge out of the hardships of the war years. It’s a film that reminds me of childhood Sunday afternoons, and shows that it’s possible for a film to be “political” and pleasurable at the same time.”
Author Hari Kunzru: Hari Kunzru is the author of four previous novels. His work has been translated into 21 languages, and his short stories and journalism have appeared in many publications, including The New York Times, The Guardian, and The New Yorker. He is the recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, The New York Public Library, and the American Academy in Berlin. He lives in Brooklyn.
Yuri Herrera, author of Kingdom Cons, presents The Long Goodbye
Thursday, June 29, 7:00pm
A fascinating mixture of surreal political fable and romantic crime story, Yuri Herrera’s prize-winning novel Kingdom Cons will be available in English for the first time this June from the publisher And Other Stories. For this screening, Herrera selects Robert Altman’s equally surreal Raymond Chandler adaptation The Long Goodbye.
The Long Goodbye
Robert Altman, USA, 1973, 35mm, 112m
“It’s okay with me”: Robert Altman’s shaggy-dog style and Raymond Chandler’s hard-boiled imagination proved to be a perfect combination in this 1973 classic, in which Elliott Gould arguably surpasses Humphrey Bogart to deliver the coolest, most alluring portrayal of iconic gumshoe Philip Marlowe. As is usual in a Chandler story, Gould’s slightly stoned-seeming shamus gets roped into a knotty plot when he tries to help an old friend (Jim Bouton) whose wife has been murdered; at the same time, Marlowe is hired by Eileen Wade (Nina van Pallandt) to track down her frequently MIA, drunkard husband Roger (Sterling Hayden). But little does Marlowe know that these two threads are deeply connected… The Long Goodbye is everywhere marked by a dreamy, narcotic atmosphere, with Altman and screenwriter Leigh Brackett (who previously adapted Chandler for Howard Hawks’s The Big Sleep) fascinatingly rendering Chandler’s source novel less as a pulpy detective story than as an eminently seventies trance film.
Herrera on The Long Goodbye: “Something that has always interested me in noir is how these narratives are, among other things, studies in male fragility. Heroes pretend to be islands, only to recognize in the end that they are vulnerable, sentimental men, wishing for some moral compass to ease their fears. From the very first scene, Elliot Gould’s Marlowe embraces his tenderness as a source of strength. He is an individual that navigates among crooks and egomaniacs while trying to preserve a core of himself. The Long Goodbye reveals the sorrow produced by violence but does not get trapped in it—underscoring that the joy of art is a rebellion against the curse of horror. The Long Goodbye is, literally, a return to the light.”
About Yuri Herrera: Born in Actopan, Mexico, in 1970, Yuri Herrera studied politics in Mexico, creative writing in El Paso, and got his PhD in literature at Berkeley. His first novel to appear in English, Signs Preceding the End of the World, was published to great critical acclaim in 2015 and included in many best-of-year lists, including The Guardian’s Best Fiction and NBC News’ Ten Great Latino Books, before going on to win the 2016 Best Translated Book Award. He is currently teaching at Tulane University in New Orleans. His latest book, Kingdom Cons, was published by And Other Stories.