Marya finds herself penniless after her art dealer husband, Stephan, is convicted of theft. Marya accepts the hospitality of a strange couple, H.J. and Lois Heidler, who lets her live in their house.

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(novel), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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...
...
...
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Théo the Pornographer
...
Mme. Hautchamp
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...
Anna
Armelia McQueen ...
Night Club Singer
Wiley Wood ...
Cairn
Virginie Thévenet ...
Daniel Chatto ...
Guy
...
Miss Nicholson
Paulita Sedgwick ...
Esther
Sébastien Floche ...
Edouard Hautchamp
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Storyline

It's 1927 Paris. Following the conviction of her art dealer husband, Stephan Zelli, for theft for which he was handed a one-year prison sentence, Marya Zelli, originally from West India, moves in with her acquaintances, expatriate Brits H.J. and Lois Heidler. Marya knows that H.J. in particular has more in mind than just providing her lodging out of the goodness of his heart. From behind bars, Stephan encourages Marya to move in with them not knowing H.J.'s intentions. Marya agrees in part because she, being a foreigner, cannot get work and would thus become destitute otherwise. She learns she is the latest in a long line of lodgers. She also learns that H.J. and Lois' marriage is not all that it appears on the surface. The Heidler's hold on Marya becomes stronger when they convince her that Stephan not only has no money but has no future in France after his release. Their collective lives become more complicated when Stephan is released from jail and tries to figure out what he's ... Written by Huggo

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Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »
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Details

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Release Date:

25 October 1981 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Erotiko kouarteto  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Director James Ivory initially resisted the casting of Maggie Smith in the film. Although he did not think her appropriate for the role despite her talent, she was cast by producer Ismail Merchant over Ivory's objections. Ivory later conceded, "... it was one of the most wonderful things that ever happened to me." See more »

Quotes

Madmoiselle Chardin: Every place can be nice, with a nice friend.
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Connections

Featured in The Wandering Company (1984) See more »

Soundtracks

Full Time Lover
Arranged by Luther Henderson
Written by Richard Robbins (uncredited)
Performed by Armelia McQueen (uncredited)
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User Reviews

 
A complex film, the harsh fate of a young woman without resources in the twenties...
20 August 2000 | by (Santa Monica, CA) – See all my reviews

In the tradition of some Merchant/Ivory films...this one deals with very profound social realities for a young woman (Isabelle Adjani)in Paris in the 1920s whose husband is a thief, is jailed. She is left penniless and without means of support (has no working papers). A rather strange English couple (Maggie Smith and Alan Bates) offer her refuge...but at the price of seduction by the husband, tolerated by the artist wife, who is inordinately tied to him emotionally. The young woman's emotional and psychological state is thrown into almost unbearable ambivalance...Love for her husband whom she visits weekly in jail and the need for survival. The film's visual beauty, the lighting, the intensity of color, the evocation of the "jazz age", the cabarets, the authentic costuming, in addition to the splended acting and direction make this a film deserving of far more attention than it's received, in my opinion. A truly cinematic experience of significance.


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