The Aspern Papers


Film Info
Event Type:Narrative Feature
Release Year:2018
Run Time:90 minutes
Production Country:United Kingdom, Germany
Original Language:English
Cast/Crew Info
Director:Julien Landais
Cast:Jonathan Rhys Meyers
Vanessa Redgrave
Joely Richardson


“The Aspern Papers” stars Vanessa Redgrave, Jonathan Rhys Meyers and Joely Richardson.

Based on Henry James’s 1888 novella and set in the late 19th Century, “The Aspern Papers” tells of an ambitious American editor Morton Vint (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) obsessed with the late Romantic poet Jeffrey Aspern and his short and passionate life.

Driven to learn as much as he can about his “poet of poets,” Vint travels to Venice, determined to get his hands on the letters Aspern wrote to his beautiful lover and muse, the elderly Juliana Bordereau (Vanessa Redgrave). There he meets the suspicious elderly woman along with her quiet niece (Joely Richardson) in their grand but dilapidated palazzo.

Assuming a false identity and initially concealing his true intentions, the editor ultimately charms the niece into helping him with his obsession. But when the niece presents him with a condition he can’t accept, the future of the papers and the mysteries they contain hang in the balance.

A highly respected entry in the prolific James’s canon, “The Aspern Papers” finds the writer creating a rich and dramatic romantic mystery featuring three compelling and complex characters as he rhapsodizes fervently over Venice, which, as he wrote, “has been painted and described many thousands of times, and of all the cities of the world is the easiest to visit without going there.”

As Venice was an inspiration to James, so has “The Aspern Papers” proved inspirational to a number of contemporary artists who have fallen under the spell of its alluring tale, if not the city at its center.