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 Dangerous Liaisons 
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Post Re: Dangerous Liaisons
Ludy wrote:
I agree, the costumes are very out of time ... I wonder if it really is a mistake or whether it is intentional.

I have always wondered. I think that men costumes are fine for the period, don’t you think?
The biggest mistake is when it comes to women hair.

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Tue Sep 16, 2008 8:39 pm
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Post Re: Dangerous Liaisons
Couldent agree more.

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Wed Sep 17, 2008 11:46 pm
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Post Re: Dangerous Liaisons
The costumes for Dangerous Liaisons are perfect if the movie were set in 1760-5. They are obviously incorrect for when the original story is set. However, I think Ludy hit the nail on the head by saying that the costume designer wanted to evoke the image of the libertine 18th century. Aside from that line about "the century is drawing to a close," the story is basically timeless. The costumes, hair, etc, are all excellent for the 1760s, so I just think of it as set then.


Thu Sep 18, 2008 9:59 pm
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Post Re: Dangerous Liaisons
That is true. Maybe they wanted to avoid the dominance of costumes, hair and make up so people could pay attention more on the story. Anyway, Valmont, in the book, seems rather judgmental when he talks about women fashion and decorations they put on themselves to look pretty.

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Fri Sep 19, 2008 9:53 am
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Post Re: Dangerous Liaisons
I'm currently reading the book. I'm finding it amazing. I started reading it during a long train journey and in two days I had already read almost half of it! I find it well written, witty and a bit scary. The intrugue is so well conceived that you have the impression the characters find themselves in a sort of infernal trap...Now I'm just in the middle of the book, so I'll tell you more whrn I've finished it; but these are my impressions till now.

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Sun Jan 18, 2009 2:06 pm
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Post Re: Dangerous Liaisons
I am so glad you are reading it, please let me know what you think! I will admit if I haven’t done it already – I was crying for the whole night after first reading it!!!!! :oops: :oops: :oops: I needed a week to recuperate, this book had the most amazing impact on me, especially the end. Until the end, I was a bit seduced by the evilness of the main characters, until the tragic end of Madame de Tourvel and the last letters of Madame de Volanges and Rosmond which I found incredibly heart braking and so true. I like to say that this book is my Bible (excuse me for this). I can’t wait to discuss it with you. Unfortunately I can’t find where to buy it :( , I read it from the library but I so want to have my own copy. Now I have the French version which I don’t understand but love to carry with me, I enjoy in the beautiful French sentences I can understand. Still, this book is borrowed, bought in France and I won’t be going to France any time soon… :cry:

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Mon Jan 19, 2009 12:09 am
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Post Re: Dangerous Liaisons
Yes, Marja Vera, I will also be so glad to talk of it with you!!! :rainbow:
And I also thank you for the advice of reading it, I'm liking it so much!
AS soon as I finish it I'll let you know and tell you what I think...
:rainbow:

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Mon Jan 19, 2009 9:10 pm
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Post Re: Dangerous Liaisons
I've finished it!
I've found it an amazing book, and one which stimulates thinking. I'll try to write down some of my impressions, even if it's not easy to say them all.
When I put the book down, I felt like I still had a lot of questions going on in my mind. And I think it's what the author would have wanted, because he doesn't give a precise answer, or interpretative key to the novel. I also had a sense like of oppression.
At the beginning, as I read the plans of Valmont and Merteuil, I found them funny, and I thought i was reading a funny and witty book, which made fun of hypocrisy and social conventions. But then it changed more or less when Valmont seduces Cécile. I guess it's because that is the first act of "violence" in the book, but it's not so much a physical violence, as a psychological one. I mean, he doesn't just rape her, but akes her like it; which is what he really aims at, because he wants to ruin her from the inside, not just to dishonour her. In that point of the novelm I felt the impression of a mortal trap closing around the main characters, which I found a disquieting, almost thrilling feature.
Actually, what is more scary is that all the things Valmont and Merteuil do are not so much about gaining pleasure, but about showing control. They illude themselves of being able to control their feelings so that they can use the feelings of others as they want. In this sort of "competition", or of "psychological war" there's a deep fear, I think: the fear of losing control ad becoming themselves prey of the same weapons they use. In the end, the weapons retort against them exactly because of this hidden fear (or at least this is how I read it). Until the end, I didn't really uderstand where Valmont's heart stayed. I didn't know whether I was in love with Madame de Tourvel, or if he still thought about Merteuil; or if he had a heart at all. Actually, I' think the point is just that he -and Mme de Merteuil as well- have one -but they want to deny it in avery way. I think Valmont is actually in love with Mme de Tourvel; but the Marquise of Merteuil is the only thing that binds him to his utopia af rationality, of lucidity: and so he wants her, and he is ready to sacrifice the woman he loves for her. But the Marquise is probably in love with him; and she decides to refuse him just because of this. Otherwise, the game couldn't go on, and she wouold end up trapped in her own web.
Obviously, this is just how I read it; but probably different reading are possible, and this is just the charm of the book.

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Sun Feb 01, 2009 3:16 pm
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Post Re: Dangerous Liaisons
Rosalie, I agree with your observations.

Rosalie wrote:
I guess it's because that is the first act of "violence" in the book, but it's not so much a physical violence, as a psychological one. I mean, he doesn't just rape her, but akes her like it; which is what he really aims at, because he wants to ruin her from the inside, not just to dishonour her.

Yes.

Rosalie wrote:
Actually, what is more scary is that all the things Valmont and Merteuil do are not so much about gaining pleasure, but about showing control. They illude themselves of being able to control their feelings so that they can use the feelings of others as they want. In this sort of "competition", or of "psychological war" there's a deep fear, I think: the fear of losing control ad becoming themselves prey of the same weapons they use.

I agree completely.
At first I was amazed how Marquise managed to built herself like that, remember her famous monologue. I had many situations in life when I literally had to hide my true feelings in second, to laugh when I feel like crying and be polite to people I hate. At that time I was occupied by her and I was truly impressed, wanting to have the same control. And then Tourvel and her agony! How heartbreaking I found her destiny, the descriptions of her so slowly falling in love and then her sufferings at the convent! Not only what happened but how it happened, the way it is written and how we find it from the letters of people who don’t know the whole situation. And that letter by Valmont! And that moment when she actually prays that God forgives him!!! Torn between those two female characters, captivated by Valmont’s charms, reading that book was like a spiritual journey, real pilgrimage.

I believe that Valmont loved her and there is one particular letter which shows that, among many quotes. I think it is clear when he wants, as another challenge, to prove that he can win her back after he had left her so cruelly. That shows his true desperation, but, it was late.

One thing left particularly bitter impression on me. It is funny how everything could be solved in a different way and at least one tragedy avoided if only Valmont had a courage to admit his feelings, to escape that vanity and influence of Marquise. The only difference between them is that life had given him the chance (in shape of Madam de Tourvel) to see and feel something more, real, beyond that frivolous, shallow world of cruel entertainments. Stupid vanity!!!! (How I love 'The Devils Advocate' and that last sentence by Al Pacino - “Vanity is my favorite sin.”) So I definitely find Valmont weak, weaker than Marquise.

However it is very hard for me to comment this book, I love it so much, as I said a real masterpiece, so I agree with your last sentence. My ultimate, ultimate favourite. Now I feel the need to read it again, I am sure that now it will leave a particularly strong impression on me!

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Sun Feb 01, 2009 5:49 pm
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Post Re: Dangerous Liaisons
Marija Vera wrote:
And then Tourvel and her agony! How heartbreaking I found her destiny, the descriptions of her so slowly falling in love and then her sufferings at the convent! Not only what happened but how it happened, the way it is written and how we find it from the letters of people who don’t know the whole situation.


I completely agree, and I find he letter Valmont sends her (copying from Merteuil's) heartbreaking. When I read it, I think that, if I were Tourvel, I had died exactly like her. She is a woman who, unlike, Merteuil, doesn't know how to control her feelings: she knows how to restrain them, but, once her defences have been disrupted, she can't but be herself and live and show her feelings completely.

[

Yes: I find it funny, in a way, how Valmont istinctively acts according to his feelings until the end, but pretends to do it in order to enjoy himself. And yes, he is weak in the end, because he can't stand for himself (and for the one he loves). And maybe his ultimate death is a sort of metaphor of his final defear, just as Merteuil's illness is a sign of her complete inner ruin.

How I was impressed by the letter where Merteuil speaks about her life! I found it scary, but in a way charming. Of course she is a strong and assertive character. It's such a pity that she tries to find her way by killing all that's sensitive and emotional inside of her. I think the difference in destiny between her ad Valmont is caused, apart from their different nature, also by the substantial difference that she is a woman. I think I remember she wrote that men always have an advantage, because to lose for them is just no to win, while for a woman to win is not to lose (sorry for my awful traslation). In a way, she tried to fill that gap, and build her own independence but, by doing so, she lost all that was good in herself.

Now I've downloaded the movie, I'm going to watch it!

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Mon Feb 02, 2009 5:13 pm
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Post Re: Dangerous Liaisons
[quote][/quote]
[quote="Marija Vera"]Still, this book is borrowed, bought in France and I won’t be going to France any time soon…

I thought the film was beautiful too! I will be going to Paris later this year - perhaps I could pick you up a copy?


Mon Feb 02, 2009 7:49 pm
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Post Re: Dangerous Liaisons
Rosalie wrote:
I completely agree, and I find the letter Valmont sends her (copying from Merteuil's) heartbreaking. When I read it, I think that, if I were Tourvel, I had died exactly like her.

When I read it, I felt so terrible that, yes, I could imagine myself dying exactly like her. To be so in love and receive something like that… After moments of true happiness comes the disaster.

Rosalie wrote:
She is a woman who, unlike, Merteuil, doesn't know how to control her feelings: she knows how to restrain them, but, once her defences have been disrupted, she can't but be herself and live and show her feelings completely.

Yes and Valmont did what he wanted. She was in pain not to betray all the things she believed in, she tried everything to escape that emotional trap and finally she gave up, she was too weak to struggle and she surrender completely, physically and mentally. It is scary, to open yourself, brake all the fences, to trust someone who then betray you in such a cruel manner.

Rosalie wrote:
And maybe his ultimate death is a sort of metaphor of his final defear, just as Merteuil's illness is a sign of her complete inner ruin.

Yes, not maybe. I have read that the end has that symbolical meaning. :wink:

Rosalie wrote:
How I was impressed by the letter where Merteuil speaks about her life! I found it scary, but in a way charming. Of course she is a strong and assertive character. It's such a pity that she tries to find her way by killing all that's sensitive and emotional inside of her. I think the difference in destiny between her ad Valmont is caused, apart from their different nature, also by the substantial difference that she is a woman. I think I remember she wrote that men always have an advantage, because to lose for them is just no to win, while for a woman to win is not to lose (sorry for my awful traslation). In a way, she tried to fill that gap, and build her own independence but, by doing so, she lost all that was good in herself.

Yes, I agree, she is one complicated and amazing character. Impossible for me that one man, who seems rather ordinary, who wrote only this book as I know, managed to wrote this and create these characters. I agree with her on so many points, only I don’t have that obsessive need to prove myself and my power by creating such intrigues. And I am sure it is all about that, in showing your power (as you said), among the rest, because she felt a need to talk about that, the silent triumph was not enough, there was always Valmont and, as she stated, she was looking for the another confident, she said it could be Cecile. After all, she needed the audience, applause. I don’t think she really really loved Valmont, she just couldn’t stend to be left alone, to lose, and she used his own vanity against him. No doubt she is one smart woman, that knows life but it is scary how she used it.

I admire Merteuil, I admire her qualities I would like to have. Once I thought I was improving but then my nature betrayed me. It is amazing to have that perfect control and built yourself like that, but not to use it in order to play with other people’s lives. You should be very rich, immoral and bored for that wicked entertainment. I like Madam de Tourvel because I think, I am ashamed to admit, she would represent that other side of my own nature so basically I may try but I would never be able to be like Merteuil. Now… Valmont… he would seduce me that’s definitely! God save me from vicious, intelligent people who are more rational than emotional… :roll:

There are two characters, healthy characters, I like and I believe they are too often neglected, in the movie and book reviews. Madam de Volanges and Madam de Rosemond! Am I the only one who cried because their last letters?? As soon as I read the books that currently occupy me, I am on my way to the library! :biggrin:

Rosalie wrote:
Now I've downloaded the movie, I'm going to watch it!

Please, let me know what you think! Maybe you won’t find it that incredible after reading the real thing but I find it definitely a good adaptation.

To Lilly – Thank you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :crybaby: :love:


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Mon Feb 02, 2009 8:11 pm
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Post Re: Dangerous Liaisons
Both of you are right, it is about control, and the fascinating and different ways that a man and a woman, both bent on control, go about achieving it. Valmont and Merteuil don't really love each other, but they respect each other's prowess. They are both excellent hunters, brilliant sportsmen of seduction, therefore they are naturally attracted to each other as the finest examples at court of the art of wooing. But for me there is one essential thing that you are both missing and that drives them more than anything: status. We are in the 18th century, love and seduction are important matters, they bring recognition! Both of these hunters know that their exploits will be spoken of. Therefore it is important for them not to choose just anyone as a victim. And failure would be to become a source of ridicule. Look at Merteuil's end: what she endures is far worse than death, it is ridicule and ostracism. Valmont is always driven on by his incredible self love which battles with the selfless love he feels for Mme de Tourzel, and by his need to assert his reputation, to prove himself the most brilliant, irresistable man in society. What happens with Mme de Tourzel purifies Valmont at the end, he shakes off the filth of the intrigue he has hatched with Merteuil, but at the price of death. Whereas Merteuil is condemned to rot whilst still alive, figuratively and in reality given the nature of the illness she contracts. One could say that if the story has a moral, it is that love can bring absolution.

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Mon Feb 02, 2009 11:16 pm
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Post Re: Dangerous Liaisons
No doubt that both of them had a standard, it was not about seducing anyone and making fun of him, it was about finding the most incredible adventure which will set some other standard. Remember Prevan and what he did! Valmont wanted to do the same with Madam de Tourvel, he couldn’t do that with Cecile, he explains it when he refuses, at first, the proposal of Marquise. Yet, there is a difference between them, caused by sexes, Rosalie pointed that. Basically Marquise does this – she plays with men like Valmont, she has all the men she wants but that doesn’t harm her reputation, she finds a way to prevent her lovers from speaking and she remains the woman of honour. If she wasn’t as mean as she was and if there wasn’t that adventure with Prevan, I wouldn’t consider her anything else but careful and wise, and her life even dull. Now, Valmont has his reputation, basically he doesn’t care what thinks one Madam de Volanges and people like her, he cares about that other “reputation” he enjoys among the different sort of people. Failure wouldn’t ruin him but would harm that other reputation and, as vain as he was, that was impossible. If you think about it who would be Valmont and what would he do without that attitude and role of a serious seducer? I think there were many factors that made Valmont the way he was but I doubt he had that true evilness and that he enjoyed cruelty as much as Marquise. Source – his own letters. So, when I analyse more, they are actually different in many ways, but the game they both played and their success in it, made them a perfect match.

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Tue Feb 03, 2009 2:02 pm
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Post Re: Dangerous Liaisons
I watched the movie some nights ago and it touched me deeply. In the end I even cried for Mme de Tourvel, which I didn't do for the book, probably because in a movie you have the scene just before your eyes, so in a way it's more immediate. The book is clearly more complex, and it was impossible for a movie to reflect all the speculation and psychological enquiry of the novel but I nevertheless found the film a very good one. I appreciated the fact that it was faithful to the book -this is something I always appreciate! I just have to say, that I didn't completely like Glenn Close in the role of Merteuil, not because of her way of playing the role (which was good indeed), but because I figure Merteuil very different...but this is probably a matter of my personal fancy.

Returning to the novel, Marja Vera, I think you're right: I also liked especially the character of Mme Rosemonde, and also Mma Volanges. I think Rosemonde is a nice character in that she tries to avert Tourvel from her mistakes, but she is not a moralist, she understands her love for Valmont and tries to help her seeing things clearly. As for Volanges, I found her last (or next to last) letter heartbreaking, where she tries to convince herself that she can still save Cécile from her sad destiny of being closed in a convent, and wants to think until the end that her daughter has just compromised herself with Valmont.

The point that both Merteuil and Vamont need a public is a very good observation; and this is maybe the reason why Merteuil needs Valmont so much. Being a man, he can just find his public elsewhere, telling about his own adventures, but, as you pointed out, Merteuil can't show herself how she is, because, as a woman, she wouldn'r be accepted in society. And I also think they're very different: Merteuil is defintely more subtle than Valmont. Valmont is more similar to the typical libertine, even if, as we already said, he isn't.
Baron, I find interesting your point, according t which Valmont finds a "purification" in his love for Tourvel. I had read the book in a different way, as I found that he refused, in a way, his purification. By leaving Tourvel in order to retain his reputation, I had the impression he copletely lost himself. But, obviously, there are different way of reading. Which leads me to mny next questions: according to you all, why did he give Danceny the letters from Merteuil, in the end? I think there are two possible meanings of this act. One can be that he just wanted his revenge on the woman who caused his death; the other one, that he actually "repented", at least as was possible for him (and this is the interpretation the movie gives). Maybe it's both...but I'm quite curious about this.
Maybe, in a way, I'd like to save Valmont, in the end :)

Marja Vera wrote:
"Yes and Valmont did what he wanted. She was in pain not to betray all the things she believed in, she tried everything to escape that emotional trap and finally she gave up, she was too weak to struggle and she surrender completely, physically and mentally. It is scary, to open yourself, brake all the fences, to trust someone who then betray you in such a cruel manner".

Yes: I think she experimented the typical scission that happens when a strong moral restriction meets a strong feeling. In the end, she couldn't but capitulate, and the struggles made before left her completely defenceless. I think this is very realistic for a woman of her time. I find her very similar to me, in many respects. I'm also very spontaneous and can't realy control my feelings. But I live in another epoch, so, in case something similar happened to me, I think I would be more protected in a way. But she was a woman who wasn't trained to deal with feelings and passion: she also knew how to be good wife and mother, and was taught to consider passion a dangerous thing. So her destiny was very sad :(

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Fri Feb 06, 2009 3:29 pm
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