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Lianna (1983)

A happily married woman comes to realize herself of being a repressed lesbian after she has an affair with a female college professor, and then tries to come to terms with her newfound lifestyle.

Director:

John Sayles

Writer:

John Sayles
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Linda Griffiths Linda Griffiths ... Lianna
Jane Hallaren ... Ruth
Jon DeVries Jon DeVries ... Dick
Jo Henderson Jo Henderson ... Sandy
Jessica MacDonald Jessica MacDonald ... Theda (as Jessica Wight MacDonald)
Jesse Solomon Jesse Solomon ... Spencer
John Sayles ... Jerry
Stephen Mendillo ... Bob
Betsy Julia Robinson Betsy Julia Robinson ... Cindy
Nancy Mette ... Kim
Maggie Renzi Maggie Renzi ... Sheila
Madelyn Coleman Madelyn Coleman ... Mrs. Hennessy
Robyn Reeves Robyn Reeves ... Job Applicant
Chris Elliott ... Lighting Assistant
Marta Renzi Marta Renzi ... Dancer
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Storyline

Lianna and her husband Dick have been married for a few years but the marriage isn't a happy one, since Dick treats her with arrogance. One day Lianna falls in love - with Ruth, a teacher. The people who know them act different: her husband with feelings of sexual betrayal, her children with curiosity and Lianna's friends with ambivalence. Written by Mattias Thuresson

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

8 September 1983 (Netherlands) See more »

Also Known As:

Lianna, Um Amor Diferente See more »

Filming Locations:

Fort Lee, New Jersey, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$300,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$1,500,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Winwood Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This was filmed in 16mm and was later blown up to 35mm. This was common for independent films of the 1980s. The film was originally meant to be shot on 35mm with a budget of $800,000. Sayles could not raise the funds for this budget, and so they "cut corners" by shooting on 16mm. See more »

Quotes

Lianna: I'm gay.
Sheila: I'm Sheila.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The title LIANNA is the last title in the opening credit sequence, after all the actors and fundamental members of the crew are credited. See more »

Connections

Referenced in It's in the Water (1997) See more »

Soundtracks

Mamma Lied
Written by Phil Gentili and B. Macpherson
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Ahead of its time
12 June 2007 | by preppy-3See all my reviews

Lianna (Rachel Griffiths) is unhappily married to a cheating husband (John De Vries) and has two children. She falls for a female teacher (Jane Hallaren) and realizes she's a lesbian. She starts an affair with her and realizes she can't stay with her husband...she must find her own identity as a lesbian.

It's hard to believe this was made in 1983. Definitely a ground breaker. I remember it played forever in a small art house cinema in Cambridge MA. I didn't see it back then but I'm glad I got the chance. BTW, it was beautifully restored in 2003 and that's the print I saw. John Sayles wrote and directed the film and, like all his films, it has incredible dialogue and a believable script. This is probably the first realistic film to show a woman coming to grips with her sexual orientation--and embracing it completely. It does show the hardships she goes through adjusting to a life on her own and the relationship problems--but that's very true to life. The trip to a lesbian bar was surprising in a film this old. The acting by the leads is superb--Griffiths is perfect and Hallaren matches her. De Vries is good also but he's stuck with a 1 dimensional villain role. The supporting roles are somewhat amateurish--but they don't lessen the film. In fact it makes it seem even more realistic! The sex scenes are explicit but tasteful.

It's hard to believe a man wrote and directed such a sensitive portrayal of a woman. My only complaint is that it's a bit overlong--but this still should be seen. A groundbreaking and very honest film. An 8 all the way.


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