Readings & Films

Notes on Dangerous Liaisons & Cruel Intentions

Everyone will watch both movies as the assignment for Session 8, but each group will pay special attention to one film. Each group should be prepared to run a discussion on either Dangerous Liaisons or Cruel Intentions.

Pay attention to the following (this is not, by any means, a list of issues you must rigidly address in your discussion; just some ideas you might want to consider):

  1. Track the evolution of the characters of your film. Think about the protagonists and the story arc and the similarities and differences in the film version and the novel.
  2. In the novel the Code of Conquest followed by Valmont and Merteuil is rigid. Is this code reflected in the movie?
  3. Considering the fact that a central theme of Liaisons Dangereuses is sexual conflict between Merteuil and Valmont, there are surprisingly few overtly sexual scenes, yet there is a great deal of sexual tension. How is this tension created in the novel? In your movie? Is the movie successful in this regard?
  4. Consider the differences related to film/print. As you compare the unfolding actions, which is more successful in developing character, plot, 18th Century Enlightenment France?
  5. Does the visual representation of the novel allow you to better understand the characters’ dilemmas or did you feel the book deepened your understanding of their actions in ways the film did not?

Of course other points of reference will occur to you … these are just some ideas.

Course Info

As Taught In
Spring 2017