The L-Shaped Room
Leslie Caron, Cicely Courtneidge, Brock Peters, Tom Bell
A bittersweet portrayal of young womanhood in seamy 1960s London, The L-Shaped Room was way ahead of its time and is ripe for rediscovery. Director, producer and screenwriter Bryan Forbes’s (The Stepford Wives, Whistle Down the Wind) adapted Lynne Reid-Banks’s seminal novel, controversial on its initial publication for its frankness about sex and modern social mores. The film garnered international acclaim (including a Golden Globe and a BAFTA) for its star, a young Leslie Caron, departing from the musicals for which she was then chiefly known (An American in Paris, Gigi).
Set in a London boarding-house, Caron shines as Jane, a young French woman pregnant with an illegitimate baby. Arriving in then-dingy Notting Hill alone and uncertain, bucking convention by refusing to marry the baby’s father, she finds love and friendship amongst the other residents, a group of fellow misfits brought to life by Forbes’s ear for dialogue and outstanding performances from a supporting cast including Cicely Courtneidge, Brock Peters and Tom Bell.
Notable for its exploration of the underside of British society, The L-Shaped Room evokes a particular time in post-war, pre-Swinging London and more specifically, within British women’s lives, which – seven years before abortion was made legal and one year before the Pill – were still hovering on the brink of radical social change.
This screening will be introduced by Selina Robertson, a freelance film programmer and writer and the co-founder of Club des Femmes.