Cinema: Ersatz Alexandria

Transforming Lawrence Durrell's massively complex Alexandria Quartet (Justine, Balthazar, Mountolive and Cled) into a single coherent film is an impossible task. Obviously. Four full-length films could hardly unravel the interlocking time structure and convoluted personal relationships in the four separate but interrelated novels. Thus 20th Century-Fox might have been well-advised to follow the traditional Hollywood practice of isolating a single incident from one of the novels and blowing it up into a complete story for the screen. But fearlessly, the studio resolved to distill the essence of the entire Quartet —carefully constructed...

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