Book to Film Club
The Immortal Story
Based on the book by Isak Dinesen, this is a sumptuous and heartbreakingly beautiful fairy tale experience.
Director: Orson Welles
Cast includes: ORson Welles, Roger Coggio, Jeanne Moreau
Book to Film Club, 7.30pm screening
58 Mins/ 1968 / France
Welles' second-to-last feature, The Immortal Story is an adaptation of a book by Danish author Isak Dinesen and stars Jeanne Moreau.
Orson Welles seems to be inexhaustible. Before the almost miraculous appearance of The Other Side of the Wind, shot in the 1970s and only completed posthumously in 2018 (available on Netflix), in 2016 there was the resurgence of The Immortal Story, another little-seen gem of the director’s blazing filmography, which was restored in 4K from the original camera negatives.
Welles's first colour film and final completed fictional feature, The Immortal Story is a moving and wistful adaptation of a tale by Isak Dinesen – pseudonym of the Danish writer Karen Blixen – published in the short story collection Anecdotes of Destiny (1958).
Commissioned by a French television channel and filmed in Spain, in The Immortal Story Welles stars as a wealthy, ailing and unscrupulous merchant in 19th-century Macao, who becomes obsessed with bringing to life an oft-related anecdote about a rich man who gives a poor sailor a small sum of money to impregnate his wife.
Also starring Jeanne Moreau, this jewel-like film, suffused with the music of Erik Satie, is a brooding, evocative distillation of Welles’s artistic interests: the nature of storytelling and the fine line between fiction and reality.
- "A sumptuous experience" - Time Out
- "The ending of is amongst the most beautiful and self-contained in all of Welles' cinema" - Senses of Cinema
Book to Film Club: Thursday 30 September, 7.30pm
Join us to see film adaptations of inspirational books and discuss your opinions in a friendly and open discussion forum after the screenings, hosted by Natalia Christofoletti Barrenha. You can still come along to enjoy the films and the group without having read the books in advance!
If you wish to read in advance of the screening the short story on which the film is based, you can find it online, and there are several editions available to buy if you wish - including this version from Penguin Random House.
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