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Play It As It Lays (18)

New Suns: A Feminist Literary Festival

Play It As It Lays

'I know what nothing means, and keep on playing.' An ultra-rare screening of the 1972 adaptation of Joan Didion’s cult novel, starring Tuesday Weld and Anthony Perkins.

Maria Wayeth (Tuesday Weld) is unravelling. Her only child’s in a care home; her marriage to an up-and-coming director is on the rocks. Drifting through a succession of ghoulish Hollywood parties and empty affairs, her only moments of pleasure come from speeding along the motorway in her lemon-yellow convertible. Only her closeted-gay best friend B.Z. (Anthony Perkins) understands.

Adapted by Joan Didion from her own novel, much of the voiceover narration and dialogue comes direct from the book; Maria’s shattered sensibility is rendered for the screen as a jumbled mosaic of scenes. It’s all undeniably dated, but deliciously so: think skinny-rib polo necks, ponchos, and glorious wooden beach-front houses.

US 1972 Dir Frank Perry 99 min 35mm Presentation

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Barbican Cinema 2