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Jean Seberg Film Festival 2013

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The third annual *Jean Seberg International Film Festival* will be held Nov 15, 16 & 17 in Marshalltown, Iowa at the Orpheum Theater. Many of her films will be shown, and there will be an exhibit, round-table discussion, symposium, legacy road tour and the world premiere of the documentary film "Movie Star: The Secret Lives of Jean Seberg" which features interviews with friends, family, co-workers in the US & Europe. Tickets are limited!

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Far as I know, she was more respected in France, where she made her best works. She left Hollywood because she made a few films with Preminger that bombed.


She's buried in Montparnasse Cemetery. I know she's from Iowa, but I'll always remember her as an American in French films.

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> When I was growing up I understood that Jean Seberg had an inter racial relationship that apparently was tolerated in this country at the time. I don't know how true this was.




I'm thinking it was revisionist history. At that time back in the late 1960s, the FBI, who was investigating Seberg due to her support of anti-establishment causes back then, planted the story that Seberg, who was pregnant, had an affair with a Black Panther member and was actually carrying his child, not Romain Gary's (who Seberg was married to at the time).


One of the Los Angeles gossip columnists back then, (Rona Barrett?? Joyce Haber??) picked up the story and ran it. Seberg was so upset by the story that she went into labor prematurely and gave birth to a baby girl who only lived a few days.


Seberg and Gary sued for defamation and won a judgement but I can't remember from whom.

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  • 1 month later...

I hope they show *Lilith* (1964), a fascinating film made from an equally fascinating novel (by J. R. Salamanca). Seberg's co-stars include Warren Beatty, Gene Hackman, Jessica Walter, Peter Fonda and Kim Hunter. The director is Robert Rossen.


On the wall of Seberg's room you can glimpse the mysterious inscription:

HIARA KIRLU RESH KAVAWN. It's never explained in the movie, but it is in the book. (Seberg plays a schizophrenic who has created her own world with its own language.)

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There really aren't enough superlatives to describe Salamanca's Lilith--though readers, at Goodreads and Amazon have given it a good try, bless their hearts. It received a lukewarm to cold reception by the New Yorker critic but after only a few months on shelf at the bookstores, word of mouth (at lightning speed, apparently) drove the sales up past a million in the first year of its publication.


There's a glitch at Amazon in their software, attributing to the "Lilith" of George Macdonald, reviews and cover art that belong to Salamanca's novel. Katherine Sebelius should hire Amazon to design the new release for Obamacare On-Line v.2a -- eh?


Robert Rossen, who directed Paul Newman in The Hustler is credited with having taken quite a departure from his perceived oeuvre with Lilith, but I would disagree. The subject of both films (Lilith was his swan song) is dark obsession, compulsion, ambition/temptation and just about every deeply twisted neurosis you can shake a shot of Thorazine or JTS Brown at.


But there's more to Salamanca's Lilith than Robt. Rossen was given to portray in his otherwise fine film--the mythological dimension which allows that maybe Lilith is not crazy at all, but really, the legendary succubus herself, once again come among men in human flesh.


Salamanca treats this subtext with such delicate subtlety however, that readers not familiar with the details of the myth will miss that layer in the telling of the story, which is really the most enthralling aspect of it. The way some readers report their experience of reading and re-reading Lilith, it is quite clear that they had become downright possessed by it!


I thought all the portrayals were great, not least that of Peter Fonda, who brought to life the character of "Warren" from the novel in a way that could not have been done better.


Edited by: Mackie45 on Oct 18, 2013 12:19 AM

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  • 3 weeks later...

Thank you for your perceptive comments on LILITH, the novel and the movie. The book haunted me after I read it for the first time. (Looking through my treasured copy -- complete with dust jacket -- I see that I got one of the words in the wall inscription wrong. It should read:




Not that many people will notice the difference -- it's just for the record.)


Your mention of "succubus" is especially interesting in view of the fact that Lilith was the mythological first wife of Adam. The images are worth Googling.


I'll conclude by saying that, although BREATHLESS retains its hold on me, I feel that LILITH is Seberg's finest performance.

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