In Focus

The Aspern Papers' director 'honoured' to be in India at IFFI 2018

A Draft Correspondent | Panjim

The 49th International Film Festival of India (IFFI) opened with a gala ceremony in Panjim, Goa on 20 November 2018. Amid cultural performances and power-packed dance sequences and presence of dignitaries from around the world and from the Indian film industry, IFFI 2018 started with aplomb and fervour. The international star cast and crew of the opening film of the festival ‘The Aspern Papers’ held a media briefing on the same evening. Present at the briefing were Director Julien Landais with actors Nicolas Hau, Barbara Meier and Lois Robbins.

Left to Right: The Aspern Papers crew - Lois Robbins , Director Julien Landais, Nicolas Hau and Barbara Meier

While addressing the media at the press conference, the Festival Director said, “We are thoroughly delighted to have the cast and crew of The Aspern Papers among us. And what better way to start the 49th edition of IFFI than with a World Premiere! A premiere which speaks for itself, a premiere which will showcase the nuances of cinema, filmmaking, acting, creativity and the way forward. The film kickstarts our whole journey for eight days and it should be a journey which all of us will love to remember. It is a great honour and a privilege to have you here. I thank the cast and crew of The Aspern Papers for coming to India, coming to Goa, coming to IFFI, and for giving us a great brand value in the international community. Namaskar, welcome to India”.

The Aspern Papers Director Julien Landais said, “It is a real honour for me to be in India to present my film at this prestigious festival. My film is an adaptation of a famous novella by Henry James, which is set in Venice in the late 19th century. I felt like it was the right subject for my first feature and fit in the incredible actors to embody these special characters. So I’m very happy to be here with my team.”

It is a real honour for me to be in India to present my film at this prestigious festival: Julien Landais at IFFI 2018

Actor Lois Robbins also present at the press conference said, “I just want to say how thrilled I am to be here. It is my first time in India. It is a beautiful country, Goa is fantastic and thank you so much for having us all. Shooting The Aspern Papers was an experience I don’t think I will ever have again as an actor for so many reasons. Firstly, it was an extraordinary cast led by an exceptional director who had a beautiful vision for the film. Just the costumes alone, from the Dolce and Gabbana couture archives, were some of the most beautiful things I will ever wear in my life. It was quite exceptional to work with Jonathan (Rhys-Myers), Poppy (Delevingne), Nicolas (Hau), Barbara (Meier) and Morgane Polanski.”

Narrating her experience while shooting the film, Lois further said, “It was a lot of fun on the very first day of the shooting of the film. It was very hot in Venice. And I had on a very heavy cape, a hat and gloves and we were shooting in a gondola. For every take, I had to take my gloves on and off. The costume people couldn’t come inside the gondola with me. So for every take, Jonathan would get into the gondola and adjust the gloves and the cape for me. And I was swooning. He is quite handsome. That might have been my favourite day of shooting.”

The Aspern Papers tells a story of obsession, grandeur lost and dreams of Byronic adventures. The film is an adaptation of a famous novella by Henry James based on the letters Percy Bysshe Shelley wrote to Mary Shelley's stepsister Claire Clairmont. The film stars Golden Globe winner Mr.Jonathan Rhys Meyers (lead actor), Golden Globe-nominated actress Ms.Joely Richardson (lead actress), her mother – six time Oscar nominee and Academy Award winner Vanessa Redgrave, Ms. Julia Robins (actress), Ms.Morgane Polanski (actress ) - daughter of Roman Polanski, and Mr. Nicolas Hau(actor).

Set in Venice in the late 19th century, The Aspern Papers tells the story of an American editor determined to get his hands on the letters his icon, the Romantic poet Jeffrey Aspern, wrote to his beautiful lover and muse, Juliana Bordereau. Juliana lives in a Venetian palazzo with her niece Miss Tina, who she seems to control and Morton tries to manipulate. But when the ambitious adventurer trifles with Miss Tina’s affections she learns to see through his scheme.
The film was shot where Henry James actually wrote it - on original locations in Venice. James Ivory, an old India hand and a recent Academy Award winner is one of the Executive Producers of the film.

The 49th International Film Festival of India (IFFI) opened with the World Premiere of ‘The Aspern Papers'.

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