In Brooklyn this past Tuesday, the alternative film venue Light Industry hosted a screening of The Driver's Seat—Giuseppe Patroni Griffi's 1974 Italian film adaptation of Muriel Spark's 1970 novella. Originally released as Indentikit, the film stars Elizabeth Taylor and features Andy Warhol among its cast members.
En route to Rome, the erratic Lise, played by Taylor, travels to meet her illusory boyfriend. The film was introduced by Eric Banks, director of NYU's New York Institute for the Humanities and a former senior editor of Artforum who relaunched Booksforum in 2003. In his introduction, he noted that the film could be, at moments, uncomfortable to watch. Yet in spite of this, the audience shared a few laughs in Taylor's absurd portrayal of Lise, from her penchant for psychedelic prints to her eroticized drive toward death.
An intimate space, Light Industry housed a full audience to watch this oft-forgotten adaptation, whose scarcity is rumored to be due to Taylor's later attempts to purchase all rights to and copies of the film. Just as Spark's original novella was rediscovered and nominated for the 2010 “Lost Man Booker Prize” forty years after its first publication, last Tuesday's event unearthed another “lost work” to be appreciated by Spark, Taylor, and Warhol fans alike.
Photographs by Stephanie Huang
The recent Muriel Spark re-prints and her essay collection The Informed Air
Moviegoers in discussion
Eric Banks introduces the film
The opening title
Spark books and refreshments
A Muriel Spark date
The audience at Light Industry
The evening's last Modelo