- Director: Julien Landais
- Writer: Jean Pavans; Julien Landais; Hannah Bhuiya; Henry James
- Producer: Gabriela Bacher
It's difficult to watch a film so full of potential, quite literally, fall apart right before your very eyes...especially when there are such grand names attached: Vanessa Redgrave & James Ivory as Executive Producer.
The fault lies squarely at the feet of Julien Landais...he and his co-writers have managed to mangle and mutilate the fine work of Henry James...beyond recognition...with soft-porn flashbacks and silly [totally unnecessary] dream sequences.
Moreover...his direction is unbearably painful to witness...with obvious and dubious 'nods' to some of the great visionary directors of yesteryear...he presents himself as a 'director' with neither authentic vision nor deft voice.
It gets a whole lot worse...when Jonathan Rhys Meyers makes his [too] numerous appearances...either Mr Meyers has forgotten the art of acting and/or [also being an executive producer] Mr Landais was terrified of actually directing him and/or he [Mr Landais] is - simply - incapable of directing his actors-cum-executive-producers. It really is excruciating [and terrifying] to watch!
This is Mr Landais' debut feature [and, quite possibly his last]...but, in his favour and to the absolute detriment of the film...he had to work with over 20 producers! Talk about too many cooks...with the head chef being an absolute novice and being screamed at from all angles...this was a broth/project that was doomed from the off. Yes, Mr Landais is partly responsible for this debacle...but, with this amount of producers, The Aspern Papers could have been nothing but a debacle! And, a duff debacle it became!
A young writer tries to obtain romance letters a poet sent to his mistress.